Geocaching is Family Fun
by Barry Trute, Associate Park and Recreation Specialist
Geocaching has proved to my daughter that I am a geek… but that’s okay. At thirteen she probably thinks anyone over the age of twenty-five is from another planet, but now she knows that she can be a pseudo-geek right alongside her father (geekdom in any form is not endearing to her mother).
You know geocaching, that’s the growing activity where people use their GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers to find hidden goodies just about anywhere. Much like finding buried pirate treasure except that geocaches are never buried. Arrrgh!
Our daughter loves the outdoors and anything techno. Geocaching combines the two which is normally tough to do. What’s great is that we can get her away from the television and into nature while tricking her into spending quality time with her parents. What parents of a teenager would think that possible? Well, it is and it gets even better. A little secret that she has yet to realize is that geocaching is almost always educational. The initial premise of geocaching was to take people to special places that they might not even know existed. I don’t know how many times any one of us has said, “I didn’t know this cool place was here!” We always learn something about the place we are visiting. That's the whole idea… and it’s fun!
Our family has spent a considerable amount of time geocaching at Angel Island SP and I hear that Millerton Lake SRA and Lake Perris SRA have some great geocaching challenges. Fortunately, California State Parks is a member of Geocaching.com and you can log on to their website at www.geocaching.com to find other great places to geocache in the Golden State and the world. The free membership will work for the beginner, but eventually you’ll probably want to become a premier member so that you can access the more advanced features of the site. Learn more about California State Parks Geocaching guidelines at www.parks.ca.gov/geocaching
So, wherever you are going, whether for the day or a week, in town or far away, you can always incorporate a little geocaching fun. No sitting around the campsite or in the hotel room saying, “There’s nothing to do!”
In a nutshell, geocaching provides families with the opportunity to do something enjoyable together that might include a little exercise, provide a chance to learn something, get everybody outside, see someplace new (or at least in a different way), not cost a whole lot of money and help parents and children connect … how is that not a good thing?