Geocaching as a Hobby: A Beginner’s Guide to Treasure Hunting

Are you looking for a new hobby that will get you outdoors and exploring your surroundings?

If so, geocaching might be just the activity for you.

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt that involves using GPS coordinates to locate hidden containers, or caches, that have been placed by other geocachers.

See Also: What Are Some Spotting Hobbies?

What is Geocaching?

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity that combines technology, adventure, and treasure hunting, then geocaching might be the perfect hobby for you.

Geocaching is a global pastime that involves using a GPS device or smartphone app to navigate to specific coordinates and find hidden containers called caches.


Geocaching began in 2000 when the US government stopped intentionally degrading the accuracy of GPS signals, a technique known as selective availability.

This made GPS devices more accurate and allowed for the creation of a new hobby – treasure hunting with GPS technology.

The first geocache was hidden in Oregon, and since then, the hobby has exploded in popularity and spread around the world.

Types of Geocaches

There are many types of geocaches, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. Here are some of the most common types:

TraditionalThe most basic type of cache, with a container hidden at the given coordinates.
Mystery/ PuzzleRequires solving a puzzle or mystery to determine the cache coordinates.
Multi-CacheInvolves finding multiple caches, each with a clue to the final cache location.
Letterbox HybridCombines geocaching with letterboxing, a similar hobby that involves finding stamps hidden in public places.
VirtualDoes not have a physical container, but requires visiting a location and answering a question or taking a photo.
EarthCacheFocuses on geological features and requires answering questions about the location.
EventA gathering of geocachers, often with games, food, and other activities.
CITOStands for “Cache In Trash Out,” where geocachers clean up litter and debris in the area around a cache.

Geocaches can be found in a variety of locations, from urban parks to remote wilderness areas. They can be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or large enough to require multiple people to move. When you find a cache, you can sign the logbook and trade trinkets with other geocachers.

Getting Started with Geocaching

If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous hobby, geocaching might be just the thing for you!

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt where you use a GPS-enabled device to find hidden containers, called caches, that have been placed by other geocachers.

In this section, we’ll cover the equipment you’ll need and how to find geocaches.


To get started with geocaching, you’ll need a GPS-enabled device. This can be a handheld GPS receiver, a smartphone, or a GPS-enabled watch.

Popular brands include GarminDeLorme, and Magellan. It’s important to make sure your device is waterproof and has a good battery life, as you’ll be using it outdoors.

In addition to a GPS-enabled device, you’ll also need some basic equipment, such as a pen to sign the logbook inside the cache, and some “treasures” to trade with other geocachers.

Toys, keychains, and other small items make great swag. Don’t forget to bring snacks and a flashlight if you’re going on a longer geocaching adventure.

Finding Geocaches

To find geocaches, you’ll need to visit a geocaching website, such as, and search for caches in your area.

There are many different types of geocaches, including multi-cache, offset, night cache, letterbox hybrid, earthcache, webcam, event cache, cache-in trash-out (CITO) events, mega event, GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit, and Wherigo cache.

Each type of cache has its own unique characteristics and challenges.

Once you’ve found a cache you want to search for, enter the coordinates into your GPS-enabled device and navigate to the cache. Keep an eye out for hidden containers, which can be disguised as rocks, logs, or other objects. Use your research skills to solve any puzzles or clues that might be associated with the cache.

It’s important to remember to practice safety when geocaching. Always wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the terrain you’ll be exploring, and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re geocaching in a state park or other public area, make sure you follow all rules and regulations.

Advanced Geocaching Techniques

If you’ve been geocaching for a while and want to take your skills to the next level, there are several advanced techniques you can try. Here are three sub-sections that explore some of the most popular advanced geocaching techniques.

Mystery Caches

Mystery Caches, also known as Puzzle Caches, are geocaches that require you to solve a puzzle or complete a challenge to find the cache coordinates. These caches can be some of the most challenging and rewarding caches to find. The puzzles can range from simple math problems to complex ciphers and riddles.

To solve a Mystery Cache, you will need to use your problem-solving skills and creativity. You may need to research historical facts, decode messages, or even visit physical locations to gather clues. Once you have solved the puzzle, you can use the coordinates to find the cache.

Night Caching

Night Caching is a unique and exciting way to experience geocaching. As the name suggests, night caching involves finding geocaches after dark. This can add an extra level of challenge to the hunt, as you will need to navigate using a flashlight or headlamp.

To get started with night caching, you will need to make sure you have the right equipment. This includes a reliable flashlight or headlamp, as well as extra batteries. You may also want to bring along a UV light, which can help you find caches that are hidden in the dark.

Geocaching with Kids

Geocaching is a great hobby to share with children. It can help them develop problem-solving skills, learn about nature and history, and get some exercise. However, geocaching with kids requires a different approach than geocaching on your own.

To make geocaching with kids more enjoyable, you will need to choose caches that are appropriate for their age and skill level. You may also want to bring along snacks, water, and other essentials. You can also turn the geocaching experience into a game, by creating your own treasure hunt or scavenger hunt.

The Geocaching Community

Geocaching is more than just a hobby, it’s a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for adventure, exploration, and discovery.

As you delve deeper into the world of geocaching, you’ll quickly discover that there are many opportunities to connect with other geocachers, both online and in person.

Geocaching Events

One of the best ways to connect with other geocachers is by attending a geocaching event. These events are typically organized by local geocachers and are a great way to meet new people, swap stories, and discover new caches.

There are two types of geocaching events: Event Caches and Mega Events.

Event Caches are smaller, local gatherings that are typically held in parks or other public spaces. These events are a great way to meet other geocachers in your area and discover new caches.

Mega Events, on the other hand, are much larger gatherings that attract geocachers from all over the world. These events often include vendor booths, workshops, and other activities, in addition to the opportunity to meet other geocachers and discover new caches.

One popular Mega Event is the GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit, which travels around the world and features a giant maze that is filled with geocaching challenges.

Geocaching Organizations

In addition to attending events, there are also a number of geocaching organizations that you can join to connect with other geocachers and stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends in the geocaching community. Some of the most popular geocaching organizations include:

  • – The official website of geocaching, where you can find information on how to get started, search for caches, and connect with other geocachers.
  • Friends of Parks – A non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect parks and other natural areas. Many geocachers are passionate supporters of this organization and work to help maintain parks and other outdoor spaces.
  • GPS Adventures – An educational program that teaches children and adults about GPS technology and how it is used in geocaching.

By joining these organizations and attending events, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other geocachers, make new friends, and explore the world of geocaching together.


In conclusion, geocaching is an exciting and rewarding hobby that offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. With the use of technology and a little preparation, anyone can enjoy this treasure hunting pastime.

So grab your shoes, flashlight, and snacks, and get ready to discover the surprises that await you in the world of geocaching.

Additional Spotting Hobby Topics
Bird WatchingBus Spotting
Butterfly WatchingCar Spotting
Geocaching Gongoozling
Microscopy Shortwave Listening