How to Get Started Geocaching

Geocaching is a high-tech, GPS-enabled scavenger hunt—and getting started is easy.

In its simplest form, geocaching is a high-tech scavenger hunt. You head into the great outdoors and search for hidden treasures with GPS gadgets, armed with just their coordinates and maybe a hint or two.

But get beyond the basics, and there’s still plenty to discover. You can earn badges or find trackable geocaching items and help move them around the globe. There are even meet-ups where you can swap stories of your favorite finds with other geocachers. All it takes to get started is a smartphone and a little know-how.

Find a Geocache

With little to no entry cost, the easiest way to start geocaching is to just jump right in. There are two incredibly easy ways to go about it. One is to visit and search for hidden geocaches near you. You can bookmark your favorites for later and read descriptions, hints, and the latest logs. The second way to get started is to download the app on your smartphone and let it tell you where all the nearby caches are hiding.

Play by the Rules

While geocachers are always happy to welcome new players to the clan, it’s important to follow the activity’s etiquette.

Always leave the area as clean as you found it. No littering or property destruction.

Sign the log. In its simplest form, a geocache may be nothing but a match canister with a roll of paper inside. This is the place to leave your mark.

If you take something out, put something in. Some of the larger containers in the geocaching world have prizes—think stickers, plastic bugs, army men, coins, or those coveted trackables I mentioned earlier. So if you see something you want, take it, but replace it with another doodad.

If you take a trackable, log it on the trackable’s site so the owner can know all about its exciting journey.

Replace the cache exactly where you found it.

Share Your Finds

Signing the log is all the credit you need for finding a cache. But if you want to share your achievement with your friends, log it on Geocaching’s site or app. There’s even a lingo to geocaching, which you’ll pick up faster if you participate in the community.

So why are you still sitting there? You could be on your first hunt five minutes from now.