How to Geocache in Florida State Parks
How to Find a Cache
Finding a cache is a fun challenge with the correct equipment.
- Sign up for free at www.geocaching.com. Enter your zip code or the one for the state park where you are interested in searching. Press Go. The website will help you find the caches and will provide clues needed to search for the cache.
- Select one or more caches to find.
- Go paperless if your GPS unit allows you send the coordinates directly to your unit.
- Head to the state park. Enter the coordinates of the cache in your GPS unit and use the clues provided to search for the cache.
- When you find it, be sure to sign the logbook. If you remove something from the cache, replace it with something of equal value.
- Put the cache back exactly where you found it.
- Share your experience with the geocaching community on www.geocaching.com.
How to Hide a Cache
After you become good at finding caches, you may want to hide one in your favorite spot to see if others can find it. Geocachers are obligated to practice the sport in an honorable and non-destructive manner.
- Find a place to hide your cache that will take a bit of time for another geocacher to find. Select a spot with a great view or an unusual location. Avoid archaeological or historic sites. Those areas are sensitive.
- Contact the state park manager and ask permission for the location you are considering.
- Prepare your cache. The container should be waterproof. Put the items in water-tight
baggies in case of a leak. Include a small logbook and a pen or pencil. Some people include a
note to welcome the cache finder. It's helpful if someone finds it accidentally. Some people
include goodies such as a disposable camera, inexpensive toy, coins or a deck of cards.
Mark the outside of the cache so that someone who doesn't play can figure out what it is. Most folks mark the container with geocaching.com, the name of the cache and basic contact information.
- After you have verbal permission from the state park manager, you may place your cache. When you reach the location to place your cache, note the exact coordinates from your GPS unit. Once you have your waypoint, write it in permanent marker on the container and the log book and make sure you have a copy to bring back with you. Write a few notes in the log book if you like, place it in a water-tight baggie and place it in the container. Hide the container. Trail blazing is not allowed.
- Report the cache by filling out the online form at www.geocaching.com.
- Maintain the cache. You'll need to return often to ensure that your cache is in good repair. Once people have visited the cache, be sure that other visitors are not disrupting the landscape. If you have concerns, move it or remove it.
Tips for Responsible Geocaching
Geocaching can have unintended impact on the Earth's natural resources. Prevent trampled vegetation, damaged wildlife habitats and disturbance of historical or cultural resources.
- Cache in, trash out. Pick up other litter along the way.
- Use the 'track back' feature on your GPS unit rather than flagging and marking trails.
- Always carry extra batteries, a map, and compass and know how to use them.
- Practice the lift, look, replace technique. If you lift a rock to look under it, replace it exactly as you found it.
- Following a trip, wash your gear to reduce the spread of invasive species.
- Consider safety. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Wear a hat, sunglasses or other weather protective clothing. Get a map and know your route along with possible alternatives. Bring sunscreen, insect repellant and a basic first-aid kit. Respect other state park users.