Remember how fun hunting for treasure was when you were little? Whether you were pretending to look for gold, jewels, lost artifacts or any other valuable, going on adventures never got old. But nowadays, it seems like all the adventuring is done on a computer in an imaginary, virtual world. If you’re a parent who is looking for ways to get your children active, sign them up for a real-world treasure hunt at Georgia state parks. Various parks throughout the state (42 to be exact) are involved in the Georgia State Parks Geo-Challenge, which is a statewide adventure game for the whole family to enjoy.

The Geo-Challenge involves something called “geocaching.” For those who’ve never heard of such a thing, the term refers to finding hidden containers (caches) with a handheld GPS device. People from all over the world participate in geocaching, and now you can experience it right here in Georgia. Players can go online and download the coordinates of caches hidden throughout Georgia state parks and then go out looking for treasure. Don’t you wish they had this type of stuff when you were a kid?

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips to help you on your search:

  • Download your very own Georgia State Park Geo-Challenge PassPort to keep track of which parks you’ve visited
  • Get the coordinates for caches at the Geocaching website
  • Use a handheld GPS unit to locate the hidden caches (the GPS units are available at many sporting goods stores or even via mobile apps)
  • When you and your little adventurer find a Geo-Challenge cache, take the trinket inside and be sure to leave something of equal or greater value behind for the next treasure hunter. Then have him or her write their name in the logbook and stamp the PassPort with the unique stamp for that specific park

In addition to the trinkets, you can earn other prizes like “endangered” stuffed gopher toys for locating special caches or Geo-Coins for finding several caches.

So if you’re looking for a fun activity for the family, visit Georgia state parks and start your own Geo-Challenge today!

For more information and to get your adventure started, visit the Georgia State Parks Geo-Challenge website.

[Photos courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources]

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