Join the hunt for hidden treasure!

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt! People hide geocaches everywhere - from just down the street to the remote wilderness areas. Many are hidden in your state and local parks. 

Family looking at the geocache they found

What is geocaching?

Geocaching is the hunt for any of more than 2 million geocaches worldwide hidden by folks like you. Each treasure hunt will take you to a fun, creative or beautiful place outdoors. 

Geo means earth and cache means hidden item. Geocaches range from very small (like a film canister) to large (such as a metal lunch box). Many are camouflaged, but they are not buried. Geocaches hold things like a log book to sign your name, tradable items for kids and adults, and more. 

Use a GPS unit or smartphone app to find the coordinates (the exact location) of a geocache nearby. then set out on your adventure!

Mother and son open up a geocache

How can I play?

  1. Visit, or use a smartphone app to find caches. Choose an easy cache for your first hunt. Caches have ratings on difficulty, size and terrain.
  2. Download the coordinates to your GPS or use your smartphone. It might take a few minutes to find the cache once you reach the destination!
  3. Approach the cache safely. Some of the best hiding spots can also be homes for wildlife. Open the container, sign the log, and trade a family-friendly item with something in the cache.
  4. Replace the container exactly as you found it. This helps the next geocacher.
  5. Log your find on! Collect a "smiley" face symbol for each find you report.
Two girls check out the geocache they found

What should I bring?

  • GPS or smartphone with coordinates
  • Pen or pencil
  • Water
  • Hat, hiking shoes and rain gear, if needed
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Park or trail map
  • Inexpensive small items to trade for cache "swag"
  • Your family and/or friends
  • A sense of adventure!
woman pulling geocache from a hole in a tree trunk

What else do I need to know?

  • Geocaching terms
  • TPWD geocaching workshops
  • Please check with park headquarters before placing a geocache in a park.
  • Leave no trace of your visit!
    • Stay on trails for as long as you can.
    • Leave what you find, including flowers, rocks and artifacts.
    • Consider others. Don't park in campsites; keep voices low.
    • Take your trash. Help keep our spaces beautiful.
    • Respect wildlife; you are in their backyard!

Introduction to Geocaching


Geocaching terms

  • Size: The size of each geocache is posted on
  • Terrain: Each geocache has a terrain rating of one to five stars.
    • One star means the geocache is accessible by wheelchair.
    • Five stars means you will need special equipment (boat, 4WD, etc.) to find the cache.
  • Difficulty: Each geocache also has a difficulty rating of one to five stars, based on how hard it is to find.
    • One star means the cache can be found quickly.
    • Five stars means the cache is hard to find or open.
  • FTF: First to Find, or the first person to find a new geocache.
  • TFTC: Thanks for the cache, or a thanks to the original hider of the cache.
  • Ground Zero or GZ: A cache’s location.
  • TNLN: Took Nothing Left Nothing, meaning that the finder did not trade any swag.
  • SL: Signed Log
  • Muggles: Someone who is not geocaching. Avoid muggles while geocaching, so that they won’t vandalize or “muggle” the caches.
  • Geocoin, Travelbug or Pathtag: These items have identification numbers. They can be shared with friends and tracked as they are carried from one cache to the next.




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