Geocaching is a community outdoor treasure hunt played all over the world. Using a GPS device or your smartphone, the goal is to locate hidden containers, called caches, based on coordinates, hints, and good old fashioned searching. You can Geocache almost anywhere in the world, but the coast is a great place to try it, and it’s a safe outdoor activity to do during your Sweet Homes getaway. 

How does it work? 

If you’re just starting out, all you need to do is sign up for an account on the Geocache app or website. While you may decide to upgrade right away to unlock more cache locations, you can start with the free account until you’re hooked! Search the location you want to explore and find caches to go after. Once you pick a cache you want to find, it will tell you the GPS location, the difficulty, size, terrain, and a hint. Mark, or favorite, this cache in your app and head out! You may want to bring a pen and paper in case the cache has a log when you find it. You might also  want to bring some little treasures to leave behind when you find the cache — it’s up to you! Then, just plug the GPS location into your phone or GPS device, follow the directions to the location, and then the real hunt is on. Use the hint and your intuition to find the cached treasure! 

After you find the cache, open it up. Many caches will have a sort of log where you can sign your name, but what else you’ll find is up to whoever found this location before you. Because this is a public game, it’s based on the honor system, so be sure that if you take an item, you leave one as well! If you fall in love with Geocaching, you can learn to hide your own, collect official Geocaching coins, and make lots of great memories! 

Here are a few tips for finding your Geocache

Get hands on! 

Your GPS will only get you into about a 30-foot radius of your cache, and your tips will help but they won’t tell you exactly where to look. Sometimes it takes getting down and dirty and feeling around for the cache, especially some of the smaller containers. They can be in things, under things, up high, down low — so bring your sleuthing skills and have fun finding the cache treasure.

Look for something out of place 

Cache containers come in all sizes, shapes, colors. Look in tree hollows, under benches, a clam shell that somehow made its way to the forest, and that one spot you’re positive is not the hiding place. Chances are, that’s where it is! Also keep in mind that caches are often disguised, just like you might hide a spare key in a fake rock in your garden, the cache may be hiding in a fake brick or another everyday item. 

Look high, low, under, over, everywhere

The geocache community is very clever! While the rule is that the cache should never be buried, that doesn’t mean it won’t be hiding under a bench or up in a tree branch. Leave no stone left unturned and make sure your eyes aren’t glued to the ground, it could be anywhere! Just think: if I were a Geocache, where would I be? 

Respect your surroundings

A foundational principle of Geocaching is appreciating and exploring nature and new areas, while doing no harm and leaving no trace. This means that you should always do your part in preserving your searching locations and leave no debris behind. This can also help you find the cache: if you would have to disturb a flower bed or go off a trail where you aren’t supposed to, the cache won’t be hidden there.

Use hints and recent activity logs

Almost all caches will have a hint or two on their page, some you even have to decode for extra fun! Take this one for example in South Beach, Oregon. “Wooden cave on the road to nowhere, the container is black, good luck!”. On top of that hint, you can check the logs of others who have found it to see if they give any more helpful info. On this cache, the log had things like ‘lot’s of blackberries around this one!’ and “dog loved the nearby dog park!” speaking from experience, these are both really helpful!   

You can Geocache just about anywhere in the world, but we personally know that the coast is full of great finds with amazing views. If you’d like a Sweet Home as your home base, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-519-0437 or email us at info@sweethomesrentals.com. We are staffed 7 days a week and waiting to help you easily plan a great, adventurous vacation in a gorgeous home, so you can keep exploring and Stay Relaxed!