Don’t Be A Muggle, Geocache: A digital twist on outdoor fun

A family finds a geocache in one of Texas’ many state parks - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
A family finds a geocache in one of Texas’ many state parks

A little more than 14 years ago, on May 3, 2000, the first geocache was hidden in Beavercreek, Oregon. Now, all across the world, there are approximately 2.5 million caches with more than 6 million geocachers worldwide.

So what is a geocache anyway?

Well, a geocache can be as small as a key chain or as large as a five-gallon bucket. People hide them everywhere from remote areas to urban centers (think hide-and-seek). The geocaches are filled with trinkets and a logbook to sign. But you don’t wander blindly into the woods to find geocaches. You use a GPS device.

And that’s the shtick. People hide geocaches all over the place. In San Antonio alone, there are hundreds, if not thousands. When someone hides a cache, they upload its coordinates onto the internet at People can download those coordinates into a GPS device or simply download a smart phone app that will do the same thing (after all, our phones are basically tracking devices).

To be sure, people are insanely clever when it comes to building and hiding geocaches so there’s no shortage of diversity in the game.

But there are rules, like don’t let the muggles see you. That’s right. Muggles. Those not imbued with the ability for magical arts in the Harry Potter series are called muggles. When closing in on a geocache, don’t let the muggles see you find it—they can’t know about it. Also, if you take something from the cache, you have to leave something. Be sure to visit for a full breakdown.

Geocaching is also a great way to get outdoors and see places you’ve never been. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge, which is a lot of fun. In more than 90 Texas state parks, there are more than 1,000 hidden caches. If you find 80 of them, you can get a free night of camping at a state park. According to TPWD, since its program kicked off in 2012, more than 250 Texas households have participated and nearly 20,000 “finds” have been logged in state parks.

So if you’re looking for some outdoor fun with a digital twist, or want a new outdoor activity, geocaching is a fun option that’s sure to please.

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