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Remember that treasure hunt from highschool with all your friends?

The thrill of racing to beat the clock, the laughter and smiles of your friends, and the incredible bonds that were formed?

treasure hunt clues

Good Clues are key to a good Scavenger Hunt for Adults and I have provided a step-by-step walkthrough on how to host a Treasure Hunt and clues to go with it!

Treasure Hunts are one of my favorite activities! I love the competitiveness, creative clues, phones and videos, and connecting with friends.

treasure hunt clues

In an age of smartphones and Netflix, playing games while thinking through the complexities of the clues is a refreshing change.

I love to design them and participate in them with both friends and family!

Outdoor parks, malls, downtown centers, your own home, or even amusement parks make perfect venues for Treasure Hunts!

Step 1: Choose a theme

Sometimes the theme chooses itself based on the event, such as a birthday party, holiday, bachelorette/bachl or a family reunion.

Otherwise, choose something that has a lot of possibilities such as a pirate theme, food-based, tourism, or a girls/guys night out.

treasure hunt clues

Costumes can make for a creative twist as well.

The theme needs to tie all the clues together into a captivating adventure for everyone!

Step 2: Send the invite

Schedule the date of the event at least 2-3 weeks in advance, but ideally at least a month.

Location is important as it needs to be central for everyone and not require excessive driving to get to.

If the event is outdoors, be sure to check the weather and advise your guests to dress accordingly.

If there will be a lot of walking, be sure to mention this so your guests can plan accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.

Step 3: Create the clue list

While intimidating, this can be the most fun for the host. You can assign points to each clue and even assign higher rewards to the more difficult clues.

Encourage your guests to take pictures to document their fun. Maybe even offer extra points to the most creative or crazy photos.

Creating the clue list is one of the most fun parts of designing a treasure hunt!

Step 4: Determine pre-hunt meetup

Determine a location for everyone to arrive at for planning. You could use a prominent landmark, your home or a business parking lot.

If your event is in a public park or amusement park, be sure to give clear directions on the exact location within the park.

Be sure to encourage your friends to arrive on time, the whole hunt will be disrupted if someone is exorbitantly late.

Once the entire group is assembled, be sure to explain the rules. Provide printed rules if possible.

Remind everyone to have fun but not to do anything dangerous, or break any laws.

After everyone knows the rules, hand out the clues, necessary hunt items such as pencils and paper.

Step 5: Arrange the Post-hunt meetup

At this point, you may either participate with anyone who may need help, such as younger guests, or prepare a finishing welcome for the contestants.

If you have asked your guests to text you the photos, you can begin sharing these on Social Media so everyone can see the fun!

Be sure to hand out the prizes to the winners and announce them after everyone has completed the hunt.

Most of all, don’t forget to have fun and not over-stress while you are preparing and facilitating your amazing treasure hunt!

So that's it — how to host an adult treasure hunt. If you run out of time or would like help, take a look at Hostible for some pre-arranged treasure hunts!


Clues

Scroll down to find the top 20 clues to make your treasure hunt intriguing and entertaining!

#1

My life can be measured in hours, I serve by being devoured. Thin, I am quick. Fat, I am slow, and wind is my foe.

"Candle"

#2

What's black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you're all through with it?

"Charcoal"

#3

Runs, but cannot walk, sometimes sings but never talks. Lacks arms, has hands; lacks a head but has a face.

"Clock"

#4

One sheet, two sheets, three, sheets, more.. some use less, some use more

"Toilet Paper"

#5

What is white when it's dirty and black when it's clean?

"Chalkboard"

#6

Stiff is my spine and my body is pale, but I'm always ready to tell a tale.

"Book"

#7

I have a sound that goes beep, and while the time I do keep, my main function is to heat.

"Microwave"

#8

What has a tongue that can't taste, eyes that can't see and a sole that will never die?

"Shoe"

#9

What loses its head in the morning and gets it back at night?

"Pillow"

#10

You're almost at the very end, but this is where your guests come in.

"Front Door"

#11

I have keys but no locks, with space but no room and allow you to enter but not get in.

"Keyboard"

#12

A clue to find where you keep things cold Where to go next is what you'll be told.

"Fridge"

#13

I start with an "e", I end with an "e", but I usually contain only one letter?

"Envelope"

#14

Bright like diamonds, hard like rock, I'm crushed or cubed or solid block. Look inside me

"Ice"

#15

Plug but no bath. Ink but no pen. Paper but no news. Cable but no TV.

"Printer"

#16

I have a neck, but no head, but I still wear a cap

"Bottle"

#17

What is filled six days a week but if you don't own it you can't take a peek.

"Mailbox"

#18

A clue to find where you keep things cold Where to go next is what you'll be told.

"Fridge"

#19

I wave all day but never tire, at the end of the day I retire. What am I

"A Flag"

#20

Used from head to toes, the more its used the thinner it grows.

"Soap"

Creatively Writing Your Own Scavenger Hunt Clues


Scavenger hunt clues are incredibly fun to write! There are a huge number of clue categories that can be combined to create the perfect Treasure Hunt.

You can mix and match these ideas based on

  • Age (Young Children, Teens or Adults)
  • Genre (Pirate, Christmas, Halloween, etc.)
  • Event (Birthday, Bachelorette or Bachelor Party, etc)
My goal is to help provide inspiration for your next treasure hunt with these tips and ideas.

Picture Clues Treasure Hunt

The first step is to take a photo of the location of a hidden clue. Then, based on the age of the participants, provide part or all of the photo to the contestant. For example, if you have the clue hidden inside of a breadbox, take the photo and cut it into 8 pieces and provide only 3 of the pieces to the contestant. For a child you could provide the whole picture. If you want to combine this type of clue with others, you can have other clues include 1 piece of the photo at a time until the contestant has collected enough pieces to identify where the final treasure resides.

You can also scatter the pieces in a designated area where the players have to assembled them like a simple puzzle in order to find the next clue.

You can take photos, use magazine clips, hand drawn depictions, etc to make it more challenging.

Treasure Hunt Clues Made of Puzzles

Puzzles add a huge fun element to the game. You can use a picture puzzles, especially for the younger generation or to keep the game from getting too intense.

An example of a picture puzzle could be (R + bug - bee = “rug”). These can be complicated like Rebus puzzles or simple depending on the age group you are working with. If your group involves children, it can be helpful to provide a dash for each letter to indicate the length of the clue.

You can also create puzzle clues with secret codes. These can be simple or complicated, again based on the age of your audience. You can do a simple number mapping with each number equal to a letter. Be sure to provide the code key if your treasure hunters are children. For example (1 = D, 2 = S, 3 = A, etc). With a code like this you could provide the clue “9-19-2” which would equal “RUG”. You can even get creative with pictures or symbols.

For adults, you could use a commonly known number system such as a 9-key letter mapping. Just be sure to leave enough of a clue for them to know what the number mapping source is or the hunt could take a really long time!

Rhyme-Based Treasure Hunt Clues

These clues tap into the creative side of your contestants by having them use rhyme to determine the clues.

Go through the place,
That hosts the chairs.
The prize is hidden,
Under the… (clue: stairs)

You can find inspiration on the internet, in books, or your own creative rhyming abilities.

Treasure Hunt Using Letters

Camouflage the clues with extra letters to make the clues interesting. Take “bathroom” for example. You could add similar letters (bbaabattthrrrooooommm) to make it hard to decipher without a little careful examination. Or for children, add specific letters like Q’s and U’s with instructions on which letters to remove to reveal the clue.

A more advanced approach is to scramble the letters using the same clue. For example “moortbha” = bathroom. A similar approach is to hide the word within a sentence. For example, the word “rug” is hidden within the sentence “a floor covering found in bRUGes”. Your clue would be written like this. “The clue you seek is hidden within this sentence. The letters are in correct order but may be spread across multiple words.” You can even add a hint as to the number of letters the hidden word contains.

To save time you can simply place dashes in place of certain letters of the clue. The older the contestants, the more letters are missing. For example, you can say B_ _HR_ _M for bathroom or M_ ST_R B_DR_ _M for master bedroom. If you have younger children, also provide the correct letters and let them try to fill in the blanks.

Trivia Clues for Treasure Hunts

This is one of my personal favorites. Trivia clues are always a big hit with adults and are also well suited for themed treasure hunts.

You can provide a crossword-puzzle like set of clues with definitions where the letters in a specific position of each word spell out the next clue. The complexity of this is up to you.

The trivia answers can also be combined with rhyming or puzzle clues to add an extra challenge for older contestants.

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