If you aren't familiar with geocaching, visit Geocaching.com for all the details, but basically, it's a worldwide treasure hunt, with items (caches) hidden in parks, and even some surprisingly urban areas that you look for via GPS coordinates. Back in the olden days (actually, like 2 years ago), you had to use a GPS made for hiking or otherwise able to be removed from your car's dashboard. Today, as with everything else, there's an app for that. And that makes it a vastly more accessible activity and enables families to turn a vacation rest stop into a spontaneous and fun way to do more than simply stretch your legs.
Some caches are tiny and you simply search for them for the thrill of the hunt, others are filled with tiny toys that thrill the younger members of your family and give them a reason to be excited about a walk in the woods. And it gives parents a method of repurposing those Happy Meal toys that may otherwise clutter the backseat. That's because if you take a treasure, you leave one for the next person.
As a family, we started doing this to entice our toddlers to enjoy hiking more because we needed a fun and free hobby. But it's become so much more! Through geocaching we have learned how rich Hamilton County is in, among other things, parks, trails and people who actually use and enjoy them! Sure, we've gotten a few nervous glances from "Muggles" (people unfamiliar with Geocaching-a term delightfully borrowed from Harry Potter) as we step off the Monon and dig around tree stumps and such. But we've met just as many people who joyfully say, "We love geocaching too!" as they pass by or stop to chat about memorable finds.
For a list of caches located in Hamilton County, simply search Geocaching.com with "Hamilton County Indiana". As you can see from the map below, there are quite a few to choose from! And Hamilton County has so many unique areas to enjoy while also partaking in Geocaching: refill your water bottles from the artesian well at Flowing Well Park; see round barns, a surprising number of which are scattered about our county; go back in time at Connor Prairie; grab an ice cream or lunch in downtown Carmel or Noblesville; meander the Monon Trail; or cool your toes along the banks of our rivers, creeks and lakes. You will be delighted at the many wonders-as well as treasures-you can find here while following that shifty little arrow on your GPS.