Photo fun: Plan a photo scavenger hunt in your city

May 7, 2012 at 6:18 a.m. ET

Looking for a way to have fun with your family without leaving your city? Try a photo scavenger hunt!

Mom and daughter looking at photos on camera

This exciting way to spend the day gives you a chance to get out on the town without spending much money. Plus, the more the merrier, so get everyone involved!

Scope out the spots

Drive around your city and scope out spots, both big and small, known and unknown. You’ll want places that are easy to find and some that are trickier to decipher. Go places that you haven’t been and drive down dead-end streets to find places that not everyone will know.

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Make your lists

Compile the places you found into a list of destinations for your scavenger hunt. Assign different point amounts for different places, with the easier destinations receiving the lowest point amounts and the harder spots to find worth more points. List more places than you think they’ll find so the team members have choices about where to go -- this will also eliminate the chances of teams continuously running into each other throughout the game.

Send out the invites

The more, the merrier for this activity. Invite not only your immediate family, but extended family, as well. This may be a fun way to bring together both sides of the family for some friendly competition. Give everyone a few weeks’ notice so they can plan to come.

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Get equipped

Make sure every team has at least one camera on hand. This shouldn’t be an issue since most cell phones are equipped with digital cameras, but it’s wise to check before you get started. Polaroid cameras are great for photo scavenger hunts since they print out your pictures right away and you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find what you’re looking for.

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Make it legit

This is all fun and games, but some people take competition (even the friendly kind) just a little too seriously. Eliminate cheating by handing out one item to each team that must be in every picture. This can be a small stuffed animal, a foam finger, a team member wearing a designated T-shirt or any other item that will let you know the picture was, in fact, taken during the game. This will eliminate people taking pictures before the start of the game and keep the teams from splitting up.

alarm clockTime it

Give your team a time limit and send them on their way! The time you need will depend on how spread out your destinations are and how many of them you listed. Most games will need at least a couple hours.

Welcome them home

Set up a meal (or at least a snack table) for your teams’ return. All that hunting is tiring and they’ll need to reboot! Add up points after you've verified the pictures and award the prize to the team with the most points.

Family vacation ideas

Looking for more ways to enjoy your family vacation? Check out Family Travel City Guide TV -- you'll find everything from the best local staycation venues to the hottest family adventure spots all over the country.

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