Geocaching is a great way to get your kids out of doors and even to teach them a few basic survival skills. It’s more fun and adventurous for kids than a simple hike, and you can practice geocaching anywhere in northern New England or even around the world.
Before you go on your first geocaching trip, though, take these seven tips for geocaching with families.
1. Dress in layers
Especially in the woods of New England and by the coastline, weather conditions can change quickly. No matter what the weather when you start on your geocaching trip, make sure to dress in layers or pack jackets or sweatshirts for the whole family. If you’re traveling near the coastline or the weather forecast calls for some rain, consider wearing a waterproof outer layer rather than a cotton sweatshirt, which will just feel clammy if the air gets moist or rain begins to fall.
2. Bring snacks
A geocaching trip can take longer than you think, so make sure you bring some snacks and bottles of water for the whole family. This is especially important when you have little kids along, who won’t do well with waiting to eat if they get hungry while you’re hiking. Trail mix, crackers, and other portable snacks are a good option for your geocaching trip.
3. Have a small emergency fund
Any time you’re traveling in unfamiliar territory, it’s a good idea to bring an emergency fund for your geocaching trip. If you’d rather not carry cash, a credit card can be a good option, especially if you would end up needing to rent a car or pay for other expensive things. Travel credit card deals can be a good option for families who want to use their cards to get rewards that will send them on even more geocaching trips.
4. Check out backpacks for younger kids
Putting smaller kids in backpacks on mom’s or dad’s back can be a good idea if you’re going to be hiking on rough terrain or for long periods of time. Babies are best carried in front packs, and make sure your pack has plenty of head support if you’re traveling with a very young baby. Toddlers and even preschoolers can be comfortably carried in frame-supported backpacks that help distribute the child’s weight around the parent’s hips rather than on the shoulders. Trust me, you’ll definitely be more comfortable with a framed kid carrier than with carrying the little one on your shoulders.
5. Choose a simple GPS device
If you are geocaching with elementary-aged kids, get a GPS device that’s simple to operate. Kids can learn how to use and read a GPS device, and they’ll be more into the geocaching trip if they can lead the way on their own. Of course, you might want to consult the GPS once in a while to make sure they’re reading it correctly, but even letting them take a wrong turn once in a while can be a good life lesson. REI notes that while more advanced GPS devices can cost a couple hundred dollars, you can get a geocaching-specific device for as little as $70.
6. Let the kids pick trinkets
When you look up the cache online, you’ll be able to find out what sorts of things you might find there. If the cache you’re looking for contains little items to trade, let your kids pick something to put in. The item you put into the geocache should be of equal or greater value than the item you take from it. Letting your kids pick trinkets to place in the geocache for others to find just makes them that much more invested in the geocaching process.
7. Bring a flashlight
Don’t forget to pack a flashlight, even if you’re searching for geocaches by day. They’re often hidden in dark holes or even in small natural caves. A flashlight will help you find the cache you’re searching for.
Geocaching as a family is a great option when you’re traveling to New England or anywhere else. Geocaching.com has some great tips on geocaching in general, and it’s also one of the best places to find out about caches you can search for. Get your family in the great outdoors with geocaching in the woods, in the mountains, by the sea, or even in your favorite city.