Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Geocaching – Fun Stuff to Do Anywhere

Geocaching – Fun Stuff to Do Anywhere

I've wanted to write a post about geocaching for a while now, but couldn't decide where to put it. I can certainly be done almost anywhere in the Bay Area, but I think it could deserve it's own full review like the Thursday activities get. So, I decided to do both.

This week will be just a quick introduction to geocaching, and in a future week, I'll write a more expansive post with ideas to take you deeper into the hobby of geocaching.

Basically, geocacaching is a treasure hunting game played with a GPs device, and the website geocaching.com. There are other websites as well, but this is the main, and most popular one as far as I know. The website offers a few different ways to search for nearby caches. You can enter an address and get a list of geocaches close by. I personally like the 'search on the map' function. It gives me better information about where a cache is than just how many miles from the entered address.

Not all geocaches are kid or family appropriate. There are a number of different attributes that can be added to each cache listing to describe it. For your few outings, you may want to look for caches that are labeled as "kid friendly" or listed as "beginner" caches. I've hunted for caches along busy roads and other places I wouldn't have wanted to take my children. That's another reason to check out the map on geocaching.com before heading out to your hunt – make sure it is an area you'll all feel safe.

Luckily, most are very family friendly. If you have a popular walking trail near you home, or park, or regional open space, there are great odds there will be several geocaches there for you to find.

What my kids like best, is the swag. If you are looking for a cache labeled 'small' or larger, then there may be small toys, coins or other little items inside. If you bring small items to trade, you can put in your item, and take some other trinket out of the cache. My kids have traded for things like beads, rubber bouncy balls or matchbox cars. Try to keep the trades fair, so the next kids to come along have something fun to pick out too.

We have a hand held geocaching GPS, but you can geocache with just a smartphone ap if you don't have a GPS. (Car GPS devises don't work well for geocaching). Geocaching.com has their own ap that costs $10, but I have used and like c:geo, and it is free. You do need to go to geocaching.com and sign up there for an account first to use c:geo and some of the other free geocaching aps out there.

If you're ready to get started, the geocaching.com website can walk you through finding your first cache. Otherwise, I'll be back with even more geocaching fun for you and your family another week.


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