How To Create the Ultimate Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Outdoor scavenger hunts make for an amazing adventure - there's a whole world out there of cool and creative places to do a scavenger hunt! Whether you have some meaningful outdoor places that you want to incorporate into your adventure or you just love nature, there are plenty of ways that you can customize a scavenger hunt to include fun outdoor elements. Here is a list of some ideas that you can use to incorporate clues/puzzles to create an outdoor scavenger hunt and tips to make sure your adventure goes as smoothly as possible:

1.  Clue cards

There are so many great places to hide clue cards including taped under a park bench or affixed underneath a structure or sign that is not easily visible. Clues are also an easy way to lead someone from one outdoor location to another based on the riddle that you provide. If you need some inspiration for how you can write clues to lead to outdoor locations, we've compiled some suggestions to get you started here

2.  Locks

Many small locks fit nicely connecting together the two zippers of a backpack. If you love the outdoors, then a great way to use this item could be to hide a clue inside the backpack and lock it with a lock, which then requires the solver to find the key along their adventure to open it. Larger locks that open to reveal internal storage areas can also be placed in outdoor locations, such as on sign poles or bike racks, so that when they're opened they reveal the next clue inside. 

3.  Message in a bottle

Because this floats it could be used for a fun outdoor puzzle if you have a small contained area of water (i.e. pool, small pond, even a bucket). If you have a small item that floats (like a toy boat or rubber ducky) you could also place it on that and put it in the water. Make sure that you close the cap of the bottle tightly so that no water leaks in! You can also hide this item in the nook of a tree that the solver would be able to locate from the description provided in a clue. If you are sure that your message in a bottle won’t be found by someone else before your solver gets to it, you can even bury it in a discrete location.

4.  Glow-in-the-dark letters

You could put this inside of any structure or place that is dark enough so that they will glow. For example, if there is a cave or enclosed outdoor area you could place them there. Or, you could place them in an outdoor area that the solver can find at night. Make sure that wherever you place them that it is dark enough that the letters will actually glow.

5.  Geographic coordinates

You can provide geographic coordinates to a particular location outdoors where you’ve hidden the next clue. This is a great way to lead someone to any outdoor location of your choosing, such as a spot with a great view. You can give the coordinates to the solver to enter in Google Maps to find the location of their next clue (or the final spot in their adventure!). 

6. Using landmarks and signs

You can use existing landmarks or signs that have writing on them to help solve puzzles. For example, you can direct the solver to a sign where a number is referenced within the text, which they can then use as a number to solve a combination lock.

Overall Tips for Outdoor Scavenger Hunts:

  • Make sure that you hide your clues/puzzles in places that they aren't able to be easily found or tampered with by other people
  • If you're unsure if your clue will be tampered with, then it's a great idea to create a duplicate one that you can put in a less risky place (just in case!)
  • Don't forget about the weather! Plan in advance to do your scavenger hunt on a day when the weather will be nice, and consider the potential for rain/wind when placing your clues
  • Set up your clues/puzzle for your outdoor scavenger hunt within 48 hours (preferably 24 hours) of when the solver will do the hunt. This will reduce the risk of your clues being disrupted before your solver finds them. 
  • Prepare in advance by having all of the items you need to create your scavenger hunt ready to go. Our scavenger hunt kits give you a full toolbox of the items you need to easily create an amazing adventure.