What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a fast-growing outdoor exploration activity that combines technology with good old-fashioned treasure hunting. For families, it’s a fantastic way to use smartphones to engage tech-savvy kids in outdoor exploration. All you need to get started is the Geocaching app. (Alternatively, you can visit a geocaching website and send cache coordinates to a hand-held GPS device.)
Caches are hidden containers that people place in public spaces under rocks, behind trees, and in other clever spots. These caches are then listed on geocaching websites (the biggest one is Geocaching.com) along with their GPS coordinates and a few clues to their location. Caches usually include a logbook and some goodies left behind by fellow geocachers.
Pick out a cache to hunt down, and then follow the clues and your GPS until you find it. Once you do, you can sign the logbook, take a trinket (and leave something new behind), and log your find through the app. Some caches are easy to find, while others require a few hours and a sense of adventure!
As you begin geocaching, you’ll likely learn something about the places you’re exploring. Geocachers often share informative details about history and ecology along with their cache listings – and hide their caches in places that will lead you to the most scenic, interesting, and unusual spots. It’s another reason why geocaching is an excellent way to connect with the outdoors in a new way.
Anyone can place their own cache on publicly accessible lands. Just make sure to ask permission from the property owner before you do so.
Where can I go geocaching around Buzzards Bay?
There are hundreds of caches hidden around the Buzzards Bay region, with more being added all the time. You can find a geocaching adventure at nearly every public park, trail, beach, and boat launch around Buzzards Bay. There are caches hidden at most of the Coalition’s reserves, including LaPalme Farm, Shaw Farm Trail, The Bogs, Tripps Mill, Horseshoe Mill, and even at our downtown New Bedford headquarters.
Here are a few more of our favorite places to go geocaching around the region:
- Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve (Freetown/Fall River): This vast swath of protected land is home to dozens of caches – including several that form the shape of a star and an arrowhead on a map! You can uncover a history mystery at Freetown-Fall River State Forest, or discover the secret of Copicut Woods. You can even head to the Copicut Reservoir, where caches are hidden along the shore next to the best catch-and-release fishing spots.
- Destruction Brook Woods (Dartmouth): As the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s largest reserve, Destruction Brook Woods has something for everybody – including geocaching. There are nearly a dozen caches hidden in these 283 acres of woods. Stop and smell the pines in a tranquil pine glade, or seek out the cache cache to collect your own cache to hide somewhere else!
- West Island (Fairhaven): There are six caches hidden at West Island State Reservation and neighboring West Island Town Beach, including the multi-stage Squirrel’s Catch that will bring you through the woods and along the beach.
- Assawompset Pond Complex (Lakeville/Rochester/Middleborough): The 4,000-acre Assawompset Pond Complex is chock-full of caches. Most are hidden at Betty’s Neck: between the meadows, by a crooked tree, and along the shore with a view of Great Quittacas Pond.
- Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area (Middleborough): This is another remote forested area where geocachers flock. Among the thousands of acres of quiet woodlands lie several multi-cache series, including one in the Hard to Get Five. But they aren’t all hard to get to, just in case you prefer a nice, easy Walk in the Woods.
- Washburn Park (Marion): This popular town park is loaded with caches that are perfect for a family adventure. Head onto the park’s wooded trail to discover the Lily Pad Lookout, or embark on the Washburn Park Multi to learn about town history at the park’s memorial plaques.
- Horseshoe Mill and Birch Island Conservation Area (Wareham): These two adjoining properties on the Weweantic River are home to five caches. One is a Weweantic River series of caches that allow you to follow the river’s flow from its headwaters to Buzzards Bay.
- Myles Standish State Forest (Carver/Plymouth): Here’s another geocaching hotspot with dozens of caches – from easy finds along the bike path and the well-trafficked East Head Loop to harder-to-reach caches like the aptly named Just a Little Further.
- Lyman Reserve (Wareham/Plymouth/Bourne): The five caches hidden at this Trustees property will lead you from the beach on Buttermilk Bay to “the cache worth the rash” within the upland pine forest.
- Four Ponds Conservation Area – Bourne Town Forest (Bourne): These two adjoining conservation lands are popular places to hide and find caches. You can look for the Wednesday Walk any day of the week, while the Four-Headed Dragon tells a mythical tale of how Four Ponds got its name.
- Little Bay Conservation Area/Monks Park (Bourne): Another pair of protected properties in Bourne, these two parks on Little Bay are flush with caches. They range in difficulty from the easy ET-1 to some more challenging finds.
- Moraine Trail (Falmouth): This nine-mile trail along Falmouth’s glacial moraine has a series of 14 caches along its northern section. Further south on the trail, look for the Wolf Den cache in a scenic spot next to Long Pond, or venture into Collins Woodlot for a four-out-of-five-star difficulty find.
- Beebe Woods (Falmouth): A geocaching adventure at this popular trail network will lead you to nearly every corner of these 400 acres. Find caches at the Punch Bowl, in A Crack from the Past, and with a view of Buzzards Bay.