Geocaching.com

Finally, we have another online nature field guide to share with you! Geocaching.com is one that you might never have expected. But I'm here to tell you that this site contains a vast wealth of information maybe unequaled on the entire internet. You'll have to keep reading to understand the sheer value of our featured site.

The first thing I need to address is the main purpose of this official geocaching site. Have you ever heard of geocaching? And what exactly is it? Well, the first thing to do is explain it in the words from the site.

"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment."

You can visit their Getting Started page for a more thorough explanation of this incredible outdoor activity. It will explain all about everything, including what you will need for geocaching. You may have noticed that it mentions above that you will need a GPS device for all of this. But for the purpose that makes this site really valuable to any nature lover, you don't need a GPS or anything at all! I will explain as we go along here.

Let's first discuss the basic benefits of Geocaching.com. If you are at all into geocaching this site is where it's at. You really don't have to look any further. There are, of course, other smaller tools on the Web you can use for this activity, but this is the starting and ending point of it all. And it does geocaching thoroughly and very well indeed. You look up the geocache coordinates on the site, load them into your GPS device, and then follow it to your treasure. It's just like searching for pirate gold!

But what if you're not interested in owning a GPS or searching for pirate treasure, matey? What if you are just a nature lover looking for a good park or walking trail, or someone else looking for any old outdoor activity that includes quiet nature? Well, that's where the real fun begins with this site! Why, just yesterday within 5 minutes I found three small nature parks with walking trails, two historical museums, and a page that gave tour directions of all the interesting places in the cemetery where some my family is buried. All of these places are near me! And Geocaching.com has tons of these places everywhere all over the world!

So now I hope you understand the value of this site at least a little bit. It's a nature lover's dream! It doesn't show every single place for a nature trip, but it shows enough of them. And so by now you must be wondering how exactly you can find these places too, especially since I'm talking about using the site in a slightly unconventional manner. So what I'm going to do now is tell you how I do some of this.

The first thing to do is go to the site by clicking on the link below. Then sign up for a free membership. You can use the site without joining but it's not quite as informative that way, and the membership isn't any worse than signing up for an email newsletter or getting a site's RSS feed. Now, on the main page you'll see on the right a section called Search For Geocaches. Type in your zip code or your home GPS coordinates(latitude and longitude), in the first search box there and click Search.

Click to go to this page
Now you will see a list of places near you that contains all of the little geocache treasures. It's this list that is important for just a few seconds. You can browse through the list by clicking the links to see if there are any interesting places near you. I only sometimes do this first because there is something more important, but related, coming up. Every one of these links has a page with a description of the place in your area where the geocache can be found. Some turn out to be the nature areas or museums we seek and some turn out to be nothing more than a storm drain down the street from us.

But wait! I have an even better way than the list to find what we want! It's on the same page with the list. Just above the list, is a blue section that gives you a link to Search for geocaches with Google Maps. This is the place to go! Click the link to get to a familiar Google Map of your searched location. This map is special to the Geocaching.com site because it contains markers that show the geocaches in your area. Now you can manipulate the map to show your exact location. Go ahead, you know what your street looks like.

Click to go to this page
For most of you there will be geocache markers in the form of little icons at more than every few miles near you. Click on one of them to get a popup bubble tip with a link to more information. Now you can follow the link to the details page to see if the place is an interesting one for you. If you like it you can follow the map to find out where to go to get to your new discovery. And if you have a GPS you can load the coordinates straight into it. You can also load the coordinates into the regular Google Maps site to get driving directions. Cool, huh?

Now we have come to the end. This was a long one, wasn't it? I know it all seems rather complicated right now, but trust me, it's very quick and easy once you go to the site. I wrote so much so that you would be able to breeze through when you finally got to the real first step. A few people have already tried it and agree that it is very very easy.

So that's all there is to it. I hope you liked this look at Geocaching.com. I consider this site to be one of the most valuable nature tools in existence. I think you will too if you use it like I do. And you might even decide to try out some geocaching for yourself. And if you have any questions about this article, I'll be happy to help if I can. Now go check it out!

Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site


We are still looking for more online field guides every day, especially those for outside of North America. If you know of a good site with information on any feature in nature of near you, share the link with us in the comments section. You may also leave a link to your own site if you have one. We will give credit to the first person that shares the link to a guide when we write the article for it. We are looking for guides from all over the world, so one for your area would be very helpful.
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Comments

  1. I have heard of this treasure hunting before though not owning a GPS or a car have never got involved...seems like a nice site though when I searched it I couldn't find anything in my area which is a shame..

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