Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

Today’s Feature Friday post is a guest post by Alec:

Looking for a fun way to spend a summer afternoon in Boston or even just an excuse to explore a part of town with which you’re unfamiliar? Letterboxing is a free, family-friendly activity that anyone can participate in– the only requirement is a little sense of adventure!

Letterboxing is essentially a public treasure hunt, a bit like geocaching, in which anyone can hide a small box in a public place and then provide clues for its location on a number of online databases. Box-makers often put some time into their creations and the box’s contents, crafting homemade stamps for ink-dried proof hunters can collect in their own notebooks, or putting together personalized, homemade log books hunters can sign.

While not only an opportunity to don your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker for some urban sleuthing, letterbox hunts are a great way to explore scenic, interesting, unfamiliar, or out-of-the-way neighborhoods, parks, or towns. Since anyone can participate in both treasure hunt creation and location, the quality of the clues can vary – but this is often part of the fun.

Getting a little lost in a neighborhood you rarely visit can lead to the discovery of your new favorite cafe, boutique, or park. While there are dozens of letterboxes currently listed in Boston on Letterboxing North America – one of the primary clue databases – there are many more throughout the Metro-West region in parks and forests, back-streets and hidden corners.

Often boxes will lead to an interesting, but tucked away, attraction: a view of the city from the top of Prospect Hill, a miniature train set hidden along a wooded walking path, or an overlooked mural on a faded brick wall.

No registration is required to become a letterbox hunter, though you’ll have to create a (free) account to post clues on most letterboxing sites.

For more information, you can visit either Atlas Quest or Letterboxing North America. Hope to catch you on the trail!

Thanks Alec for sharing your experience with Boston on Budget! Learn more here about submitting a budget-friendly activity or tip in Boston! 

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