Most RVers utilize a GPS unit in their travels. They tell you where you are in the world and direct you to where you want to go. They are an indispensable tool to those with a permanent case of white line fever. Well, what if your GPS could take you to a hidden container full of treasure?

It's true! It's called geocaching and it is a great recreational addition to your RV travels. Now, before you get too excited and quit your job to become a full-time RVing treasure hunter, be aware that the treasure chests you seek will be Tupperware containers and old ammo boxes, and the treasure inside will range from happy meal toys to small collectibles. You won't get financially rich but you will be richly rewarded with secret out-of-the-way places that you never knew existed. Isn't that why most of us RV in the first place - to discover what lies beyond the next corner?

A Geocache Lurks Nearby

To get started on your treasure hunting adventure, visit and create a free account. Once you have created your account, log into the home page where you can enter the city, state, zip code or the coordinates of your home. Enter the information and watch for the results to appear. I guarantee you will be stunned by the number of geocaches in your neighborhood. Now that you know there is treasure literally in your own backyard, go to the top left corner of the page and click on “Learn” and then “Geocaching 101”. The basics to Geocaching are listed here. In no time, you will be ready to find your own treasure.

Now a little bit about why geocaching and RVing complement each other so well. Let's say you are driving down Interstate 5 on an annual RV trip. You have seen all the points of interest along the way numerous times before and just want to stop to do something interesting. Geocaching to the rescue! After a little searching on the geocaching website, you soon learn there are thousands of geocaches along the I-5 corridor. Many geocaches will be at rest stops or other easy on-off locations along the freeway, giving you a reason to take a break, stretch your legs and getting a little adrenaline rush as you search for hidden treasure. Often, they will lead you to a point of interest along the way you never knew existed - maybe a remote historical marker or an old watering hole used by teamsters years ago.

Now if you are a parent and RV with children, I am sure you are quickly realizing the value of geocaching. You get the kids out of the RV, give them something to find, and they will eagerly walk, probably sprint, to find treasure at the next rest stop. It's like an Easter egg hunt everywhere you go! From the back seat of the RV, "Are we there yet?" will be replaced by, "When do we stop for the next geocache?" Finding a place to stop along your route will no longer be a problem. The problem now is how to decide which geocaches to visit. There will undoubtedly be so many caches along your chosen route that you will have to limit yourself to selected caches or you will have so many stops you will never reach your destination on time.

Great Activity for Children

Your whole vacation could be spent chasing geocaches. There are those who plan their entire vacation around geocaching. Where most RVers would have a destination in mind like Disneyland, a compulsive geocacher would have a special geocache as a destination and would plan the route based on the number of geocaches they could find on the way. There is a coveted cache near Snoqualmie Pass called Mission 9: Tunnel of Light Reclaimed which is based on the Planet of the Apes movie. Numerous geocachers from distant points have made the pilgrimage just to recover this cache. En route they find hundreds of other caches. In the public campground after dinner, you now have one more option to finish out your day. You can sit around watching TV or you can burn some calories by taking a stroll around the park to find geocaches.

Teens Enjoy Geocaching Too

Many geocaches in state and other public parks are hidden by the cache owners at their favorite viewpoint, secret waterfall or other personal beloved spot, taking you to places you never would have visited on your own. Even if you don’t find anything of interest in the geocache, the real treasure was in the place visited. Some of the places you may discover geocaching are gnome grottos, forgotten homesteads, pioneer grave sites, ghost towns, waterfalls, scenic overlooks, wildlife sanctuaries, giant conifers, geological formations, old mine sites and abandoned wishing wells.

Typical Geocache

Most of us combine the use of RVing with other recreational pastimes. Here again, geocaching fits right in. You can find geocaches while mountain biking, clamming, skiing, dirt biking, crabbing, backpacking, fishing, riding ATVs, boating, hiking and snowmobiling. There are millions of active geocaches worldwide with over a half million active geocachers searching for them. So don't delay, grab your GPS receiver, load the RV and hit the road to treasure today. You will be richly rewarded.

A footnote to those of you that call the Northwest home: Geocaching was born in the Pacific Northwest with the first geocache being placed near Portland, Oregon and geocaching headquarters are located in downtown Seattle.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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