Deb Lowther: Family on the Run


Geocaching: Your Family Should Be Doing It!

Everything You Need to Know About Geocaching


Who doesn’t love treasure hunting?  I was totally intrigued when I first heard about Geocaching. The prospect of hidden gems right outside my front door, just hiding in the bushes, was so cool.  I wanted to go find them all so I grabbed the kids and we started exploring.  Turns out, geocaching is super easy, kids of all ages love it, the whole family can get involved, and it doesn’t cost a thing. 

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Geocaching is the perfect activity to get everyone outside, exploring, on an adventure and having fun. After the winter we’ve had, it is time to get outdoors; the snow is melting and the ice is finally thawing.  There is treasure to be found ! 

Here is the low down on what you need to know to get started Geocaching.

What is Geocaching?

The definition of geocaching from is “geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS co-ordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”

Random trinkets, jewels, toys, coins, and notes act as treasures and sometimes the cache is so small, there is just a teeny tiny scroll of paper that logs all visitors. EVERYWHERE around the world there is hidden treasure.

It all started back in 2000 when the U.S. government opened up satellite and GPS communication, enabling anyone with proper GPS receiving devices to navigate to the location of hidden items. Immediately GPS enthusiasts wanted to test the accuracy of these satellites. The first item was hidden in the woods by Dave Ulmer, its GPS coordinates sent out to an online GPS user group to see if anyone could find this “stash.” They did!

Within weeks GPS enthusiasts caught on to this stash-and-hunt idea and started hiding their own stashes. Soon the name was changed to Geo (for earth) cache (meaning hide or storage).

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Now over 2.4 billion caches are hidden around the world with varying difficulty levels. Some simply hidden with specific co-oridantes to a tree or under a shrub, others require solving riddles or multi layer, multi location puzzles to find the final cache.

Get Started Geocaching

All you need to get started is a GPS enabled smart phone and an App.  I purchased an app for $9.99 app but there is the website and free apps available which you can use to test it out before purchasing.  You can give your family a team name, electronically check off in the caches you find, and the app offers descriptions, hints and photos of the hidden treasure if you are struggling to find it. 

Ready to try it?

Go to on your computer.
Choose Explore as a guest and enter your postal code on the far right.
Then choose Map this Location – check out ALL the hidden treasure around you just waiting to be found!

Ready to Get the App?           

  • Download the Geocaching app to your smart phone with GPS
  • Choose ‘Find Nearby Geocaches’
  • Click on any of the dots for details about the difficulty level
  • Click on the ‘>’ arrow and ‘Navigate to Geocache’ and you’re off
  • You can search by compass or by map, or toggle between both
  • If you need clues, click on the ‘<’ arrow and choose from Descriptions, Recent logs, Hints, and Attributes posted by previous cache finders to help you
  • Sometimes even photos of the exact hiding spot are posted if you are really struggling and need a spoiler


Some Geocaching Rules

  • When cache is found, sign the log
  • Put the cache back exactly where you found it
  • If there are treasures in the cache and you take one, put one of equal or greater value back in its place
  • Get all your friends and family involved!

The best part of the geocaching experience for us has been the secret knowledge we share as a family! Imagine knowing when you are biking with your friends that there is a hidden gem by the church parking lot, or walking to school across the bridge and only you know about the camouflage covered box under it, or remembering the fun you had with your family discovering the plastic “dead” leg by the creek that hid a cache!

Geocaching has us rediscovering the paths, forests, creeks, and great outdoors in our own backyard, and where ever we travel – Grandma's house, the zoo, camping, Florida, the apple orchard - a simple “Find nearby cache” on the app turns any hike, drive or a visit into a geocaching adventure.

Give it a try and tell me how much your family loves it!