Hide & Seek

Geocaching Destin

Savannah Vasquez
Liberty Chastain, 9, types coordinates into her Geocaching App to begin her hunt for hidden treasures in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. [SAVANNAH VASQUEZ/DESTIN.COM]

Dubbed “the world’s largest treasure hunt,” geocaching is a Global Positioning System (GPS) phone app that offers scavenger hunting in the real-world. With more than 3 million registered hiding spots world-wide, geocaching is a fun way to discover the outdoors.

In the Destin area there are more than 371 hidden treasures listed on www.geocaching.com, including Morgan Sports Center and near Destin Commons and HarborWalk Village. The geocache’s are listed in approximate distance, difficulty of the search, size of the item, last found date and date the geocache was first placed.

Anyone can form a geocache hiding spot, all you have to do is plug the coordinates into the app and hide a treasure. The treasure can be anything; the real fun is in the finding.

Once someone creates an account on www.geocaching.com, they can find locations near them to seek out. The app will give them coordinates and hints, and the rest is up to the person doing the searching.

Once geocahers find a cache they're supposed to sign the log book, take and leave a trinket and hide the cache back where they found it.

Topsail Hill State Park is one location in the local area where someone can geocache in more ways than one.

“Here at the park we have three geocaching activities,” said Faith Whalen, vice president of the Friends of Topsail Hill State Park. “We have a 10 location in-house program, we are also part of Operation Recreation GeoTour that is connected to all the other state parks in Florida, and we are about to launch a brand new Kid’s GeoTour program.”

Whalen explained that the in-house program includes a packet that describes where the caches are scattered throughout the 1,600-acre Topsail Hill State Park.

“It’s a really fun program, it’s basically a scavenger hunt to find the different treasure containers in the park,” Whalen said. “You check-in at the campstore to get the coordinates, and the packet comes with some nature information. When you find them (Geocaches), inside there is a log book that you sign, and if you have trinkets you put one in and take one out.”

The geocaches at the park have three difficulty levels, and participants have the option to walk, bike or take the park tram to and from each hidden location.

“It’s really a self-serve program,” explained Whalen. “If you want to be more exploratory you can, the program is always open.”

Local Events: Florida State Parks has teamed up with geocaching.com to offer a GeoTour. The GeoTour stretches from Pensacola to Key West, Florida and includes 40 different cache spots throughout Florida’s State Parks. Once you collect all 40 locations you can receive a special commemorative coin. Get your official Florida State Parks Tracking Sheet at www.floridastateparks.org/sites/default/files/Tracking%20Sheet%202015.pdf.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park offers bi-weekly Geocaching events on Wednesdays and Saturdays with “Geocaching Around Topsail.” The event includes a Geocache packet and a prize to be acquired from the Camp Store after the hunt. For more information visit www.floridastateparks.org/park-events/Topsail-Hill.

Kids To Parks Day: Topsail Hill State Park will also be participating in Kids To Parks Day May 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Among the activities of the day, the park will be rolling our their new Kid’s GeoTour program which allows kids to hunt for the hidden treasure by using animal icons. Collect six animal icons from corresponding State Parks and obtain a commemorative coin. 

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