Often we describe our efforts to get out at our local state and regional parks. However, outdoor fun can often be found right in your own neighborhood! Some days we simply don’t have the time for the drive yet still have the urge to explore. Geocaching helps us to explore our own backyard in ways that are fun for kids and adults.
We first tried geocaching through borrowing a GPS unit from a local Minnesota State Park. While it was nice to try out the activity, we were then limited to park boundaries and availability of units.
With a simple (free!) app on my husband’s tablet we were able to get out and search in our own neighborhood. We discovered there was a cache about one block from our home. On our first outing, we only found 1 of the 3 we searched for. But the next day we found 4 of the 4 on our list! There are a series of 6 caches near our home named after Star Wars characters which really excited our son. He also loves finding the caches to pick out a treasure. We always leave a butterfly in memory of our daughter who was stillborn last year.
We did make a few mistakes for these outings. Since we weren’t venturing far from home I didn’t grab a snack and no on put on bug spray. We got eaten alive the first night. (In Minnesota people say the state bird is a mosquito.) I also didn’t make everyone use the restroom before we left, so inevitably everyone really had to go before we got home.
Having Your Own Adventure
1. Download the app. If you have a smart phone or tablet, there are a variety of apps to choose from. We use this android app, called c:geo. In our experience, it worked just as well as the GPS units we borrowed. This particular app didn’t require WiFi access or 3G coverage to work which is nice if you use it in more remote areas.
2. Set up your account on Geocaching.com. You can learn more about how geocaching works and get started by looking up caches to find in your area. After setting up your free user profile, the website lets you track all of the caches you find, and there are many more features we are still discovering.
3. Get outside! (Not forgetting the bug spray, snacks and bathroom break. )
We’d love to hear about your geocaching adventures. Please comment below or on our Facebook page.
Until next time, adventure on.