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Adventures in First Coast Golf & Geocaching

Are you looking for a new activity to mix up your golf weekend? Mix the competitive dynamic of golf with a less competitive, but just as exciting scavenger hunt! Golf and Geocache your way across North Florida, or pick one smaller stomping ground and conquer all the caches near a single course!

Are you looking for a new activity to mix up your golf weekend? Mix the competitive dynamic of golf with a less competitive, but just as exciting scavenger hunt! Golf and Geocache your way across North Florida, or pick one smaller stomping ground and conquer all the caches near a single course!

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor activity played and enjoyed by people of all ages in which participants use GPS devices or their mobile phones to locate “caches” using given coordinates from an app they downloaded or on the geocaching website. Caches are small items that are for the explorer to take and typically replace with a new treasure. The caches are kept and hidden outside in a small waterproof container of your choice. They are typically stored with a logbook and a pen so you can leave a message or record that you were there. Some caches are meant to be found first and taken (leaving only a signature behind) and others are meant to be traded for new cache items.

What Does it Have to Do with Golf?

Geocaching is essentially, a modern day scavenger hunt and it’s the perfect activity for exploring an area’s natural or beautifully scenic landscapes. Much like golf, it involves walking, talking and relaxation. Using a GPS receiver or even a smartphone app will help you locate the treasures you are seeking, so it’s not typically very difficult to find caches; although there are many different levels of difficulty. Most geocaches are located in parks and there are typically many to choose from in every county in Florida. There are 994 caches to find in Jacksonville alone!

What do I need to bring with me?

Well, first of all, if you are exploring the First Coast, keep your clubs on you! Many of these caches are pretty close to golf courses and some of the premium caches are even located directly on the course (Keep reading for some caches you may want to start with!). Typically, caches have little in the way of financial value. They are usually sentimental. I have found everything from yo-yos to old photographs. The caches need to be small and able to fit in whatever container you locate; or if you are planning to create a new cache, you can bring your own container.

Merging Geocaching and Golf

My dream is that one day, golfing and geocaching will simultaneous with one another. Geocaching is a great way for people that are new to an area to explore golf courses with their families, so I encourage you to hide *subtle and non-invasive* caches on your favorite public First Coast courses. You can make your own golf ball geocache container or order one! These containers are very small (technically a “nano” size in geocache terminology), so here are a few ideas of some caches you could hide:

  • An interesting ball marker
  • A course coupon
  • Or perhaps the ball itself could be a cache, hidden in a small waterproof container with a note inviting the explorer to play on the course it is hidden!

*Make sure you tell the clubhouse that you are planning to hide a cache on the course to get permission first. Many courses will have no problem with this plan if you explain what geocaching is and how it will help new people discover their course!

Where are some Caches on Florida’s First Coast of Golf?

Many caches are located in state parks, and the more premium caches (geocaches you have to pay a small monthly fee to have access to) are located directly on the courses.

Amelia Island

Of the 242 geocaches in Amelia Island, some of my favorite caches are located in the Amelia Island State Park. I typically take my son to the park, trade out a fun cache, and then head over to one of the local courses for a quick round. When I hit up this cache, I typically head over to the Long Point Course at the Amelia Island Club. There are so many family-friendly golf packages in Amelia Island.

Palm Coast

In Palm Coast, there are 202 geocache locations, but my favorites are in Linear Park is very close to Palm Harbor Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 with a daily fee available. This park is chock full of geocaches, so it’s fun to explore. You can grab a golf package in Palm Coast and then head up to St. Augustine to make a weekend of it!

St. Augustine

In St. Augustine,  there about 242 geocaches, many planned for exploring the rich history of the oldest colonial-settled city in the United States. My favorite cache is in Mission, in view of Pedro Menedez’ landing spot where he first set foot 450 years ago. This is the perfect town for exploring history with the The World Golf Hall of Fame at World Golf Village. Check out some of the incredible golf packages in St. Augustine for a weekend full of inspirational and explorative fun!

Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a larger part of the First Coast, so there are well over 900+ geocaches to choose from. With a huge park system, you can find a bed of caches virtually anywhere, but I like the cache in Henry J. Klutho Park (formally known as Springfield Park). The caches are throughout the entire metropolitan area, and Jacksonville has course packages that allow you to explore many courses throughout North Florida from a central location and stay any area for a great deal.

Ponte Vedra

If are staying in Jacksonville, you are only a short drive away from 335 more caches in a golf super-center: Ponte Vedra. I have always wanted to grab this cache called: The 19th Hole, but I haven’t been able to find it yet! It’s tricky! It’s located right next to the Bogie Café near Sawgrass, so I think my biggest challenge is my controlling my patience. I am typically so ready to get out on the course by the time I am there! You can stay in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, or Ponte Vedra for easy access to famous courses in Ponte Vedra like TPC Sawgrass.

Clay County

Last weekend, I found a very interesting geocache at the entrance of Hunt Club Road, where I was taking my son for the weekend. We played all weekend at Eagle Harbor Golf club, went hiking at a nearby hunting club. It was a really fun weekend and with over 300 caches in Clay County, you could make a week of it while playing at Eagle Harbor.

Golf, Geocache, Go!

Alright, I’ve done some of the initial legwork. Now it’s time to get going and try your hand at this awesome activity that will expand your horizons for new golf destinations on the First Coast. I am excited to see what golf-centric geocaches you can come up with and hide throughout the region. Let’s blend these two activities together and come up with a new sub-culture for Florida’s First Coast of Golf. Are you with me?!