Geocaching in New York City – A New Way to See the Sights

Ever heard of geocaching?  Started in England over a decade ago, this high-tech treasure hunting game has really taken off in recent years with the proliferation of smart phones and GPS devices. “Cachers,” as they are called, range in age from infants to adults and use handheld GPS devices, a series of clues, as well as coordinates to find treasures, or caches, hidden outdoors. Though generally thought of as a rurally-based activity (many caches are hidden in parks, preserves and off of mountainous walking paths) geocahing is popular everywhere in the world, including New York City.

With organizations like the Metro New York Caching Society along with literally millions of people walking the streets on any given week, New York is a ripe concrete jungle full of hidden treasures you never thought were there. Whether you’re an experienced cacher and frequent poster on geocaching.com forums, or a newbie looking for a great way to walk around New York on your next visit, geocaching in the Big Apple may be a great option for you.

However, aside from the regular rules of always leaving something of equal or greater value that that which you take from a cache and making sure to sign the log book and register your Travel Bugs online, there are additional precautions and considerations that you need to take when caching in New York. Here are the two most important to note:

  1. Remember the buildings
    If you are used to relying on your GPS coordinates to help you find a cache, it is important to note that the sheer number of really, really tall buildings in New York can often block or distort a signal. For those not willing to give up the crutch of the GPS, finding parks and other more open areas is a great first choice. More daring cahcers or those who know the city a bit better may be willing to use coordinates as merely a guide and then let the clues do the rest.
  2. Beware the muggles
    As any good geocacher knows, those who do not participate in our little game are called muggles. Since New York is so populous, the added element of appearing discrete is even more important when caching in the city. There have been incidents when a bomb squad was called because a muggle found a cache and there are a lot of people, especially in more crowded areas that will get suspicious and nervous if you are hunting around too much. It is therefore even more important that cahcers in New York practice discretion and respect that a lot of people will not understand what it is you are doing, even the police.

Geocaching in New York City is an amazing way to spice up an already diverse vacation. The added benefit of walking in some of the amazing parks peppered around New York as well as the additional adventure of avoiding the muggles while you cache can really add to the fun for the whole family. Geocaching is definitely a great option for all those looking for a little more adventure in the City that Never Sleeps.