The Indiana Insider Blog

A Modern Day Treasure Hunt

Indiana Tourism welcomes today’s guest blogger, David Garner:

David Garner - DNRDavid Garner is a Seasonal Interpretive Naturalist at Monroe Lake for the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. David studied Natural Resources and Environmental Science at Purdue University and has worked at both Monroe Lake and four years at the Indiana Dunes State Park. He enjoys helping both kids and adults to discover the wonders of nature.

Are you looking for a cheap activity that you can do throughout Indiana? Look no further, geocaching is the activity for you.

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. How do you get the coordinates? Go to and you will find that you can enter you postal code, state or even county. There are more than 1.5 million geocaches that you can find, scattered though out the world. Try it out, type in your address and you will find that there is at least one geocache in a short distance from your house.

Geocaching is a great way for families to get out and explore nature.

My favorite part of geocaching is not that you get to find hidden treasure; although that is fun, it is the fact that it gets me out of the house and allows me to discover new things. Fall is a great time to go geocaching in the the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. The fall colors are coming in, you can feel that crisp air on your face and there are plenty of events and activites that you can attend as you are geocaching. Check out State Parks and Reservoir programs to find an activity near you. Before you head out to the events pre-load a few geocaches into your GPS and take time to explore the property, many of the caches will take you to places that you have never been or you may learn that you walk by it everyday.

One of the most asked questions that I get when doing a geocaching program is what kind of GPS do I need and how do I use my GPS unit. There are many types of GPS units out there. I recommend finding a friend that has a GPS first and see how you like their unit. Hand held GPS units can range from $80-$600. The difference is how sensitive the antenna is. Some of the car navigation systems can be used, but only if they have an off-road abilty and most smartphones have an app for geocaching. With so many different kinds of GPS units available, the best way to learn how to use your GPS is to read the manual .

Geocaches can come in all shapes and size.

There are a few events coming this fall for you to experience what geocaching is all about. On September 24th, Indiana Dunes State Park will be hosting their, 7th Annual IN State Parks Cacher’s Campout. On October 15th, Monroe Lake – Paynetown SRA will be hosting the Monroe Lake Fall Excursion. And on November 5th Lincoln State Park will be hosting Geocaching with Abe 2011. To learn more click on the desired event.

Geocaching is a great way to get out in nature and discover new things. Go out to your favorite State Park and Reservoir property and seek out those hidden treasures that we call geocaches.

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Written by : The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) manages a wide variety of state-owned lands that are available for all sorts outdoor recreation activities. Staff are charged with managing and interpreting the natural and cultural resources of these sites, and with regulating lake and stream usage, fish, wildlife, oil, gas and coal and Indiana's archeological and historic resources. For more information about the DNR or careers in natural resources, visit