Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity for the whole family. If you are familiar with geocaching then you know how much fun it can be. If you aren’t then read on and we’ll explore the activity of geocaching and how much fun it can be for the whole family.
Geocaching is the modern-day equivalent of a treasure hunt. Using a handheld GPS receiver or an app on your phone you search for caches placed by other people. They provide the GPS coordinates, clues to the cache location, or other descriptions, and then you try to find the cache using the information provided.
Let’s look at how you can get started enjoying this fun activity. The first thing you are going to need is a handheld GPS receiver or app on your smartphone. You can download apps for both iPhone and Android phones. These can be useful if you are looking for caches in a place that has good cell reception at all times, such as in urban environments. The apps are also available for your iPad.
What you will find in the Ozarks is that cell reception can be spotty at times. This is especially true when navigating some valleys where there is no line of sight to a cell tower due to elevation changes or heavy tree cover. Since many of the caches in the Ozarks are off the beaten path we found that a handheld GPS receiver is indispensable for getting to many caches.
The GPS receiver we recommend is the Garmin GPS map 64ts. Click the link or the image above to purchase.
This unit has all the features you need to get started geocaching. It comes with a US topographical map and preloaded caches. Since it uses both the US GPS and the Russian GLONASS Global Positioning System satellites to navigate it is almost assured there will be plenty of satellites over you at any one time. This translates to more accurate navigation and less chance of lost satellite signal errors.
Another advantage of this unit is the free Garmin Basecamp software. With the software, you can download the maps of your searches, including tracks and waypoints. Below is an example of one of the maps I downloaded from a trip we took to find a geocache close to us.
Once you have your GPS unit in hand or the app loaded on your phone it’s time to go out and find your first cache. If you have a unit with caches preloaded, just do a search for the nearest caches, and you should see a list on your device. Just click on the one you want to search for and begin navigating to the cache site.
Geocaching can be fun for the whole family. Get the kids in on the fun by telling them it’s a treasure hunt. In fact, it can be. Many caches have small trinkets and toys which can be collected. Etiquette for geocaching dictates that caches such as these with small items inside are meant so that if you take an item you leave an item in its place. To learn more about etiquette and geocaching in general you can visit the largest site for geocaching, Geocaching.com.
When you visit the site you can learn more about the activity and how to get started. You can also get a premium membership for less than $30 per year that will allow you to download thousands of geocache locations directly to your handheld unit. Please note that we don’t make anything off of this if you go and purchase the premium membership. I just found it to be of great value because I can download the cache locations directly to my GPS receiver no matter where I happen to be. Then I can filter the results by the closest cache sites. This saves you a ton of time overloading each one individually. It also gives you access to some premium caches which include finding clues to solve where the cache is located. These caches really are even more fun to find and they can feel just like being on a modern-day treasure hunt.
Be sure and carry a pen with you to sign the logbook. Most caches have a logbook, so the cache owner can see who has visited the cache. However, sometimes the pen has been inadvertently removed. You don’t want to get all the way to the cache and then find you can’t sign the logbook.
Another thing about the website mentioned above is that you can log your cache finds and earn badges and other neat stuff.
Now that you know what geocaching is why not get out there and find some caches of your own. You can visit geocaching.com for even more info. You can follow us on Facebook to see other items that don’t make it to the blog, such as photos or short adventures. You can also visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our videos. We appreciate your support as we continue to get Lost In The Ozarks.