Geocaching is a fun high-tech treasure hunt that takes place in the outdoors. It’s a great way to add excitement to a hike, and to get kids outside and exploring.
Geocaching in Georgia is a great way to adventure through the Peach State. You’ll find hundreds of geocaches here, including ones at Georgia State Parks.
Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know to get started on your geocaching adventure.
WHAT IS GEOCACHING AND WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT
Although geocaching requires using your smartphone or a GPS device, it’s more about exploring the real world than the virtual realm. Some people call it a high-tech treasure hunt. You can explain what geocaching is to kids by comparing it to an Easter egg hunt.
Geocaching lets you use your smartphone or GPS device to find a hidden cache. The caches can be different sizes — everything from a super small tube to a large cache. Inside regular-sized or larger caches, you’ll find little “prizes” — like things you may find at the Dollar Tree. You can take a prize, and then add a prize you brought to the cache for the next person. Sign the log to say you were there, and you’re done!
Here’s a simple breakdown of the rules:
- Download and open the Geocaching app to find caches near you. Then select a geocache to find. On the app, there are free caches and others you can access if you subscribe.
- Once you select the cache you’re looking for, use the app to navigate your way there. It will tell you if you’re getting closer or farther away. It will also tell you what kind of cache you’re looking for. For instance, “micro” means really tiny (like something that will almost look like a refrigerator magnet size), and “regular” means the size of a shoebox.
- Once you get to the location, start looking! In the app, you can also look at the recent activity of other geocachers or the hint for clues if you’re having trouble.
- You’ve found the cache! If the cache has prizes and you want one, make sure to add another of equal or greater value to replace it. (Take a toy car, add a rubber ball.) Sign your username in the geocaching logbook, and then replace everything exactly as you found it. You’ll also want to log that you found the cache on the app so you can keep track. Then, you can get started on your next one!
WHERE ARE GEOCACHES HIDDEN?
You may not believe this, but geocaches can be pretty much anywhere. (There’s probably one near where you are right now!)
Caches can be hidden in the middle of the woods or the middle of a busy city block. You’ll find geocaches at Georgia State Parks, at recreation areas, in office parks, in downtown areas, at historical sites, and more.
They can be anything from a green ammo box to a container that looks like a chewed up piece of gum. Every cache has a logbook, but other than that, it can contain any number of items to be traded or collected.
Who hides the caches? Well, that depends. In most cases…the general public and fellow geocachers set up a cache somewhere and add it onto the site for others to find. If you want to hide a cache, make sure you check to make sure you’re allowed to hide it where you want to, and that you can easily check on it from time to time to make sure it’s still properly hidden and taken care of.
You can find more information about hiding a cache here.
Read More: WHAT DOES A GEOCACHE LOOK LIKE?
Geocaching has its own lingo, and some of it may come up as early as your first cache. Here are some of the most common geocaching terms you may see from the beginning:
- DNF stands for “did not find” and it’s what cachers say if they are unable to locate the cache. If you see this in the app under “activity”, you’ll know the cache may be tricky because someone before you was unable to find it.
- FTF stands for “first to find” is what cachers use if they are the first to find a newly made geocache.
- TFTC stands for “thanks for the cache” and is used by cachers in logbooks or in the app to thank the cache owner for the hide.
- A Travel Bug is a trackable tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. You can find more about Travel Bugs and trackables here.
- A muggle is a non-geocacher, which is based on “muggle” from the Harry Potter series. If you see a comment that a cache has been “muggled”, it usually means the cache has been removed or dismantled by someone who doesn’t play the game and didn’t know what it was.
- A multi-cache is a cache that involves two or more locations. The final location is a physical container. Geocaching.com says, “There are many variations, but most Multi-Caches have a first stage with a hint to find the second stage, and the second stage has a hint to the third, and so on.” See the full list of Geocache Types here.
GEOCACHING AT GEORGIA STATE PARKS
Geocaching is a popular activity at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. Not only are there a lot of great caches to find at the state parks, but Georgia State Parks also offers two GeoTours. (I bet you’re wondering what that is, right?)
A GeoTour is a series of caches that are designed to give cachers a “tour” of an area — or in this case, the Georgia State Parks regions.
In 2021, Georgia State Parks released two new tours — the Parks GeoTour and the History Trail GeoTour.
The Parks GeoTour has four different region coins you can earn, once you’ve completed the tour requirements for that region. (More below.)
The History Trail GeoTour features indoor boxes with combination locks that can only be opened after learning about the history of the site. You’ll solve clues to get the combination, while learning more Georgia history.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS GEOTOUR
The Parks GeoTour features brand new caches in all 45 state parks. For the GeoTour, the parks have been divided into four different regions, and you can earn a prize coin from each region.
The four regions are the Mountains Region in the north, the Lakes Region in the east, the Plains Region in the southwest, and the Swamp Region in the southeast.
Now, you don’t have to visit *all* the state parks in the region to earn the coin, but you do need to visit and find nine of them. Ready to figure out how to do it? Here’s what Georgia State Parks needs you to know:
- Download and print the new Parks GeoTour passport.
- Visit the new GeoTour page on GeoCaching.com.
- Check the Georgia State Parks website for hours of operation of each site.
- You will need a GPS phone to locate each cache.
- Once found, trade items in the cache & write your name in the logbook. Bring something to write with.
- Locate the codeword inside the geocache container.
- Write down that code word on your passport in the box for the appropriate Park.
- Once you have 9 codewords for one region, email your passport (or a photo of it) to parksRfun@dnr.ga.gov. They will mail you a region-specific custom geo-coin for each region you have completed.
Keep in mind that Georgia State Parks does require a $5 daily parking fee, and you’ll need that to find these caches. They also have an annual pass available for $50. (Which, if you’re going to be doing this tour, makes the most sense.)
On a personal note, my family and I are avid geocachers and we also love the Georgia State Parks. This GeoTour has hands down been some of the most fun we’ve had! Working together to complete the regions has been super fun, and we’ve visited new parks we hadn’t had a chance to visit before. The Georgia State Parks geocaches have been some of our very favorites, and we’ve loved earning the parks Geo Coins.
HISTORY TRAIL GEOTOUR
The History Trail GeoTour is a great way to learn more about the history of the Peach State, and have fun doing it. In order to earn the History Trail Geo Coin, you must visit 19 historic sites, solving clues along the way. You’ll have to answer questions about Georgia’s history that are site-related to be able to open the combination lock to the geocache.
You must complete all the History Trail caches to be eligible for the History Trail GeoCoin.
Here’s what you need to know, according to Georgia State Parks:
- Go to the geocaching.com Georgia History Trail page, log-in and find GPS coordinates and clues.
- Download a GeoTour Time Travel Ticket and print it out. The grids will be used to record your success.
- Check the Georgia State Parks website for hours of operation and admission fees of each site.
- In this GeoTour, most of the caches are mystery/puzzle geocaches. You’ll need to visit 3-5 stages (locations) within the state historic site, the final location being a locked ammo can.
- Answer questions at each stage to determine the 4-digit lock combination for the final geocache.
- After you find the geocache and correctly open the combination lock, log your name and comments inside the geocache then trade a trinket of equal or greater value.
- Find the letter inside the cache and write it in the corresponding historic site location box on the grid of your GeoTour Time Travel Ticket. Find all the caches to reveal the message!
- Log back into www.geocaching.com to tell of your experience and brag about your find!
- Take a photo of your GeoTour Time Travel Ticket and email it (along with your name and address) to parksRfun@dnr.ga.gov. They will mail you your own trackable History Trail Geo-Coin!
GREAT PLACES FOR GEOCACHING IN GEORGIA
Looking for other great places to geocache in Georgia? Honestly, most places you go will have geocaches somewhat nearby, but here are some of our Georgia favorites.
- Explore Columbus with the Columbus RiverWalk GeoTour
- Jackson County is home to two different geocaching trails.
- Clayton County has more than 200 caches!
GEOCACHING IN GEORGIA FAQ
How do I find a geocache in my area?
To find a geocache in your area, you can either go to geocahing.com or download the Geocaching app on your phone. Find one near you, click on it, navigate to it, then find it!
What should you not put in a geocache?
Explosives, fireworks, ammunition, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol and any illicit material should not be placed in a cache. You should also not place food in a cache.
Where are geocaches not allowed?
Geocaches are not normally allowed in national parks or national wildlife refuges. There are some exceptions, but those are placed by the park managers, not the general public.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- ATLANTA: 53+ Things To Do In Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From A Local)
- WATERFALLS: 33+ Best Waterfalls In Georgia You’ve Just Got To See
- HIKING: 125+ Best Places For Hiking In Georgia (Kids & Beginners)
- WHITE WATER RAFTING: 6 Exhilirating Places You Should Try White Water Rafting Georgia
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