Intentional Living

Hidden Treasures: A Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching


If you’re looking for a fun and engaging outdoor activity that gets you off the couch and into nature, geocaching might be the perfect hobby for you! Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt that involves using GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates to find geocache containers placed by other fellow geocachers.

The game is played by millions of people worldwide and is a great way to get outside, explore new places, and discover hidden treasures!

geocaching for hidden treasures


History of Geocaching

Geocaching began in 2000 when Dave Ulmer, a computer consultant from Oregon, hid a container in the woods and posted the GPS coordinates online. The idea quickly caught on, and within a few years, there were thousands of geocaches hidden all over the world.

Exploration, Mindfulness, Problem-Solving & Connection

Geocaching has become a wildly popular activity all over the world for a reason! It’s a fun and exciting outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, and can be a great way to explore new places, get active and learn about the natural world.

kids geocaching

In addition to treasure hunting just being a fun adventure, geocaching can help build valuable skills for mindful and intentional living. Geocaching builds our capacity for purposeful exploration, mindfulness, problem-solving, and connection with others.

Purposeful Exploration

Geocaching requires you to actively seek out hidden caches in the environment around you. This may require you trek difficult terrain, explore new places and get outside your comfort zone.

hidden geocache


Geocaching is a naturally mindful activity, requiring you to focus on the present moment and your surroundings. An mindful practice will help you to be more present and aware in your daily life.


Geocaching often involves solving puzzles or deciphering clues in order to find a cache. This can help you to develop problem-solving skills and a willingness to tackle challenges, which can be useful in all areas of life.

geocaching problem solving

Connection with Others

Geocaching can be a social activity, allowing you to connect with other like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby, fostering a sense of community and connection.

Getting Started with Geocaching

Choosing a GPS Device or Smartphone App

The first step to getting started with geocaching is to choose a GPS device or smartphone app. There are several options to choose from, including handheld GPS enabled devices and smartphone applications.

While you can opt for a premium membership subscription within the apps, including a monthly or annual subscription, the free option is all you need to get started!

geocaching on smartphone

Creating a Geocaching Account

Once you’ve chosen your GPS app, the next step is to create a geocaching account. This will give you access to thousands of geocaches all over the world.

Understanding Geocache Types

Geocaches come in several types, including traditional, multi-cache, puzzle, earth, and virtual caches. Each type of cache has its own unique characteristics and requires a different level of skill to find.

Reading Geocache Descriptions

Before you head out to search for a geocache, it’s essential to read the cache description carefully. The description will give you valuable information about the cache’s location, difficulty level, and size of the cache.

Finding Your First Geocache

Searching for Geocaches Near You

Once you’ve chosen your GPS device or smartphone app, created a geocaching account, and familiarized yourself with the different types of geocaches and how to read their descriptions, it’s time to start searching for your first geocache. The best place to start is by searching for geocaches near you.

Tips for Finding a Geocache

Finding a geocache can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the game. Here are some tips to help you find your first geocache:

  • Start with easy caches

  • Look for obvious hiding spots

  • Follow your GPS device or smartphone app

  • Look for clues in the description or hint and read the comments of geocachers who have already found the treasure you’re after

  • Be patient. Finding caches is even more exciting when you have to work for it

Signing the Logbook

Once you’ve found the geocache, it’s essential to sign the logbook. This is a way to document your find and let other geocachers know that the cache is still active.

man signing the geocaching logbook

Trading Swag

Many geocaches contain small trinkets or toys, called swag, that you can trade with other geocachers. If you take something from the cache, be sure to leave something of equal or greater value in return.

items in container to trade swag

Geocaching Etiquette

Geocaching is a community-driven activity, and with any community comes a set of unwritten rules. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when geocaching:

Leave No Trace Principles

Geocaching is an activity that takes you out into nature, and as such, it’s important to be mindful of the environment. When you’re searching for a cache, be sure to stay on designated trails and avoid trampling plants or disturbing wildlife. Additionally, you should always pack out what you pack in and dispose of any trash responsibly.

Respecting Private Property

Geocaches can be hidden on public land, but they can also be hidden on private property. If a cache is on private property, you need to obtain permission from the owner before attempting to find it. Be respectful of any rules or guidelines the owner may have and be sure to leave the property as you found it.

Being Discreet

While geocaching, you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself. Avoid making noise or acting suspiciously, and be sure to re-hide the cache in the exact spot where you found it.

Maintaining and Hiding Geocaches

If you decide to hide your own cache, you need to maintain it properly. Check on it regularly to ensure it’s still in good condition and hasn’t been damaged or stolen. Additionally, when hiding a cache, be sure to choose a location that won’t be disturbed by other geocachers or non-geocachers.

Advanced Geocaching

Once you’ve found a few caches, you may want to try some of the more advanced options:

Puzzle Caches

Puzzle caches are caches that require you to solve a puzzle in order to determine the cache’s location. These puzzles can range from simple to incredibly complex, and they can be a fun challenge for those who enjoy problem-solving.


Multi-caches are caches that have multiple stages. At each stage, you’ll need to solve a clue or complete a task in order to move on to the next stage. The final stage will contain the cache.


EarthCaches are caches that focus on geological features or processes. Instead of finding a physical container, you’ll be asked to answer questions about the location’s geology.

Virtual Caches

Virtual caches are caches that don’t have a physical container. Instead, you’ll be asked to answer questions about the location or take a photo of yourself at the location.

Geocaching Challenges

Geocaching challenges are a way to compete against other geocachers in a friendly and fun way. Challenges can be based on a specific theme, location, or difficulty level.

seniors participating in a geocaching game

Completing a Geocaching Series

Many geocachers like to complete entire series of caches in a particular area. These series can have a common theme or be linked by a common story.

Finding a Geocache in Every State

If you’re an avid geocacher, you may want to set a goal of finding a cache in every state. This can be a fun and challenging way to see new parts of the country.

Join Geocaching Events and Competitions

Geocaching events are a great way to meet other geocachers and learn more about the activity. There are also competitions, such as geocaching challenges, that can be a fun way to test your skills.

geocaching team competition

Geocaching Safety

As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety while geocaching. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while geocaching:

  • Always tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return

  • Bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate gear for the weather and terrain

  • Avoid geocaching alone, especially in remote areas

  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for hazards such as wildlife, steep drops, and unstable ground

  • Follow ‘Leave No Trace’ principles and respect private property

  • Bring a First Aid Case just in case

Geocaching Resources

Geocaching is a popular activity with a dedicated community of enthusiasts around the world. There are many resources available to help you get started and enhance your experience. Here are some of the best geocaching websites and forums, apps and tools, books and guides, organizations and communities.

Geocaching Websites and Forums

There are several websites and forums dedicated to geocaching. These can be a great way to connect with other geocachers and find new caches to search for.

The official Geocaching website is the go-to resource for finding and logging geocaches, tracking your progress, and connecting with other geocachers. It also has a wealth of information on geocaching history, types, guidelines, and tips.

Geocaching forums are great places to ask questions, share experiences, and meet other geocachers. Some of the most popular geocaching forums include Geocaching Forums, Groundspeak Forums, and Reddit Geocaching.

Geocaching Apps and Tools

Geocaching apps are essential for finding and logging geocaches on the go. The official Geocaching app is available for iOS and Android and provides access to the largest geocaching database in the world.

Other popular geocaching apps include:

  • Geo
  • CacheSense
  • Locus Map

Geocaching Books and Guides

There are many books and guides available that can help you learn more about geocaching and improve your skills.

Some of the best geocaching books and guides include:

Geocaching Organizations and Communities

Geocaching organizations and communities are a great way to connect with other geocachers and learn more about the activity. The largest and most well-known geocaching organizations the Geocaching Association of Great Britain and the International Geocaching Organization.

Join the Community of Cache Finders!

Geocaching is a fun and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced geocacher, there’s always something new to learn and discover.

By following these tips and resources, you can enhance your geocaching experience and explore the world in a whole new way!

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