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How Long Should A Scavenger Hunt Be?

Planning Tips Jul 2, 2013

When we first start talking to someone about using GooseChase to organize a scavenger hunt, one of the most common questions we get is “how long should our event be?”. While there’s no perfect length for a game, we have noticed that there are three types of scavenger hunts that seem to work well for the majority of scenarios. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses, but 9 times out of 10 one of them will align perfectly with your use case. Every event is still unique, but making sure you have the proper timeline for your event will make sure you get the most you can out of it! So without further ado, here are three common scavenger hunt lengths that you should consider.

Short Scavenger Hunts: The Sprint

First off, the Sprint. This works perfectly as an introductory ice breaker or warm-up as part of a longer day. It shouldn’t be the primary focus of a gathering, but if you are looking for a way to shake things up up without a lot of time commitment, this is it. We’ve seen Sprints work incredibly well during breaks at conferences, picnics, as well as mid-afternoon breaks at work.

Target length: 30-45 minutes game-time + 15 min for organization and wrap-up.

Number of missions: 10-20 relatively quick missions

Mid-Length Scavenger Hunts: The Cross-Country

Next we have the Cross-Country. This is a full on blitz of scavenger hunt glory. When the participants come together, it’s to go for gold and nothing else. That’s not to say it can’t be included as a component within a bigger event, but during that time, the focus is only on the scavenger hunt. Some great examples of cross-country games are team building events, a weekend game with your friends or a charity fundraiser.

Target duration: 1.5 hours of game-time, 30 min for organization

Number of missions: 20-50 varied missions

Long Scavenger Hunts: The Ultra-Marathon

Finally we have the Ultra-Marathon. It’s not as common for a fun weekend activity, but it does seem to be a perfect fit for week-long conferences or marketing activations. The key is finding challenges that will keep people entertained and engaged as a passive activity during their time in attendance, but not interfere too much with their day-to-day obligations. The added bonus is you can include more challenging missions since participants have a longer time to figure them out. For Ultra-Marathon games, we also recommend creating an end-of-game slide show of most memorable submissions!

*Target duration: 2-7 days

Number of missions: 50-100 varied missions

At the end of the day, there’s no hard rules about how long a scavenger hunt should be be. While our suggested event lengths are a good starting point, we leave the event organizer to make the final call on the needs of their scavenger hunt event.

For more resources on organizing your next group activity, check out our 3-part guide on how to organize an office team-building scavenger hunt. Our blog also contains numerous scavenger hunt idea posts to help you populate your mission lists!

What is GooseChase?

GooseChase is an online platform that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!


Andrew Cross

Co-Founder & CEO of Goosechase