These programs are for first-time campers, or for those who could use a refresher. They focus on camping basics, teaching the skills needed for a safe, fun overnight experience in the great outdoors.
Download the Camping 101 Basics flyer here.
Activities May Include:
- Camping fundamentals
- Nature hikes
- Wildlife interpretive programs
- Fishing, geocaching, canoeing
- Outdoor cooking instruction
- Sustainability practices and fire safety
Check out the details below for opportunities in your area.
Bay Area State Parks
The Summer Learning Program in Marin County serves schools in Oakland and San Francisco. Marin District staff works with teachers to incorporate interpretive programming that engages the students, provides fun physical activities and instills the awe and excitement of being immersed in the natural environment of Mt. Tamalpais, Angel Island and China Camp State Parks. For many of these students, this will be their first time camping, or in some cases, being out of an urban environment.
For more information about the Summer Learning Program, please contact Interpretive Specialist Samantha Toffoli at Samantha.Toffoli@parks.ca.gov or (707) 769-5665 x227. Or visit www.calparks.org/programs/packard-summer-learning.html and www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24914.
Chicago Park District
Learn how to camp in an urban setting, under the stars, with the Chicago skyline as your backdrop! The Chicago Park District’s expert team teaches camping basics and offers guided nature hikes, fishing, stories around the campfire and more at our scheduled camping events. Camping on Chicago Park District property is only allowed during organized camping events and there are several Family Camping Events on the calendar in 2013. Registration is required.
Family Camping events will be held at the following CPD locations:
Northerly Island: June 22-23
Palmisano Park: August 17-18
Gompers Park: September 14-15
Cook County Forest Preserve: September 21-22
Jackson Park's Wooded Island: October 5-6
To register and for more information visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/camping/.
Colorado State Parks
Let’s Camp! If you’ve ever wanted to go camping but you weren’t sure how to begin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has the perfect solution. Our
Let’s Camp! program is a fun-filled, overnight camping experience that gives families hands-on guidance from knowledgeable and friendly staff. The program will include all the fundamentals of camping from set up to break down in a safe, comfortable, and relaxed setting that is perfect for beginners to develop confidence for rewarding outdoor experiences in the future. And, we have lots of fun, family outdoor activities planned. The best part is that no prior outdoor knowledge is needed, and we even have loaner equipment for you and your family to use! Come on -- Let’s Camp!
Locations and dates of Let's Camp! programs:
June 30-July 1 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park
July 14-15 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park
July 21-22 at Lake Pueblo State Park
August 4-5 at Lake Pueblo State Park
Georgia State Parks
It’s never too late to discover the joys of sleeping under the stars! Thanks to a donation from The North Face: Explore Your Parks program, if you want to try camping, we can help you begin! With our First-Time Camper Program, you’ll get borrowed gear (including a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more), a lesson in Camping 101 and two nights’ accommodations in the great outdoors. Choose from eight Georgia State Parks including A.H. Stephens State Park, Fort Yargo State Park, James H. Floyd State Park, Reed Bingham State Park, Skidaway Island State Park. Fort Mountain State Park, General Coffee State Park and F. D. Roosevelt State Park. Campsites have water and electric hookups, picnic tables, grills and campfire pits. Bathrooms and hot showers are within walking distance.
Call the Park directly to make your reservations and be sure to identify yourself as a First-Time Camper. Anyone who has never camped in a Georgia State Park can qualify. For more information visit www.gastateparks.org/FirstTimeCamper.
Idaho State Parks
Idaho is expanding it’s First Time Camper Program offerings this year, with gear and programs available at three unique sites throughout the state: Lake Cascade State Park, Hells Gate State Park, and Priest Lake State Park. Camping equipment and on-site instruction and assistance from staff will be available to individuals and families who may never have had the opportunity to experience the wonders of camping.
For more details and information about gear, sites and program dates available within each park, please contact the park individually: Lake Cascade State Park at: (208) 382-6544 or www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/lake-cascade; Hells Gate State Park at: (208) 799-5015 or www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/hells-gate; Priest Lake State Park: (208) 443-2200 or www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/priest-lake or click on the First Time Camper Program tab at www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/activities/camping.
Maryland State Parks
Thanks to a donation from The North Face: Explore Your Parks program, Maryland State Parks is pleased to offer camping gear through the OPERATION: CAMPOUT! Program. We can lend you gear, free of charge (includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more). This program is designed for military individuals and military families new to camping, or experienced campers stationed or recovering in the Maryland/DC area. Through the Wounded Warriors program, we are reaching out to those stationed at nearby bases and hospitals and veterans with this program.
OPERATION: CAMPOUT! provides an opportunity for families to reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in a comfortable, safe and relaxing setting.
Choose from five Maryland State Parks including: Patapsco Valley State Park, Pocomoke River State Park, Rocky Gap State Park, New Germany State Park or Swallow Falls State Park. Campsites have picnic tables and campfire rings. Bathrooms and hot showers are within walking distance. It’s never too late to discover the joys of sitting around a roaring campfire, roasting marshmallows or sleeping under the stars! For more information about OPERATION: CAMPOUT! visit: www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/armed_forces.asp.
For more information, contact Christina Holden at (410) 260-8155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massachusetts State Parks
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is proud to partner with The North Face: Explore Your Parks to offer four Learn to Camp Weekends statewide. First-time campers will participate in a variety of activities including fishing, nature hikes, cooking and campsite set-up demonstrations and listening to a storyteller by a campfire!
Locations and dates include:
Otter River State Reservation, Baldwinville- July 20 & 21
Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover- July 27 & 28
Nickerson State Park, Brewster- August 3 & 4
Tolland State Forest, Tolland- August 10 & 11
For more information please contact Julie Martin at (617) 626-4962.
Michigan State Parks
If you’ve never camped before, and would appreciate a hands-on “edu-vacation,” be a First Time Camper! You’ll get two nights of camping in one of fifteen Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas for just $20 – with all of your gear, guides and good times included.
Your experience begins with our First Timers Welcome Kit filled with details on what to pack, what to expect, and what to wear. Then, when you check in at the campground, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up camp and settling in for a great Michigan adventure.
For more information please visit www.michigan.gov/dnr/.
Missouri State Parks
Learn2 Camp in Missouri State Parks. Have you ever wanted to explore the great outdoors but didn’t know where to begin? Does your family want to make s’mores over a campfire and sleep under the stars? You’re in luck! Missouri State Parks and The North Face are teaming up to teach families to learn to camp.
This summer, 40 families will have a helping hand as they learn the joys of camping in a Missouri state park. We’ll supply the equipment and the expertise. You supply the family and an eagerness to discover nature. For more information, go to www.mostateparks.com/learn2camp.
New York State Parks
Come sleep under the stars! New York State Parks and The North Face have teamed up to help introduce families to the outdoors at New York State Park campgrounds. First-time Campers participating in the program will receive special offers, an Explore Your Parks Exploration Guide, maps and helpful tips for an optimum stay. Families participating in the program will be eligible to win a Family Camping Package that includes a tent and accessories for future overnight adventures.
From the vast wilderness of Allegany to the waterfront sites in the Thousand Islands to the diverse settings of the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley and Long Island, visitors can choose from 65 campgrounds with 8,400 campsites across 10 park regions.
For more information please contact Wendy Gibson at email@example.com.
Ohio State Parks
Want to get the family off the couch, and spend time together outdoors? Camping is a great way to get outside, get fresh air and have fun. If you always wanted to try camping, but don’t have the know-how or the gear, now is your chance! Our Camping 101 weekend events are open to a maximum of 10 families each. Participants will be greeted by camper hosts, and special activities (including setting up camp, starting a fire, camp cooking and family fishing), as well as the regularly scheduled naturalist programs, are provided. There is a $40 camping fee for each two night program.
Locations and dates of Camping 101 weekends:
Alum Creek State Park: June 21-22
Deer Creek State Park: June 28-30
Buck Creek State Park: July 12-14
Delaware State Park: July 19-20
Indian Lake State Park: July 26-28
Our Camping 101 workshops are free and have unlimited attendance. Hands-on instruction using gear provided the Explore Your Parks program includes setting up a tent, cooking outdoors and building a roaring campfire.
Camping 101 workshops will be held Saturday afternoons in June through Labor Day weekend at Caesar Creek State Park and Cowan Lake State Parks .
Oregon State Parks
Oregon Parks & Recreation Department brings you Let's Go Camping. It is a fun-filled weekend camping experience for novice camper families. We provide the tent, sleeping bags and mattress pads at no cost if you need them for the weekend. Lots of fun activities are planned for parents, grandparents or children. There are sixteen weekend events scheduled at various state parks. Every other weekend we're camping as a group on the coast. These are very secure events with ranger-led activities and experienced volunteers on hand to assist you 24/7. These events have been very popular with single parents, families on a budget and seniors. Cost for the ENTIRE FAMILY IS ONLY $30!
Call (888) 953-7677 Monday-Friday between 8 am. and 5 pm to reserve a spot. Our summer schedule or more information about the program can be found at www.oregonstateparks.org.
Pennsylvania State Parks
The North Face wants you to visit Pennsylvania State Parks and we couldn’t agree with them more! Through a donation from The North Face: Explore Your Parks program, Pennsylvania State Parks are offering Family Camping Programs this summer. If you ever wanted to try camping but found it too daunting, our Family Camping Programs are the perfect solution. These are overnight, guided camping experiences. We supply tents, cook stoves and other needed supplies. We’ll guide you the whole way through setting up your tent, to making dinner, to leading you on a guided hike or kayak experience.
Park programs will vary based on equipment available, fee charged, as well as activities that may be offered. Why camp anywhere else but your award-winning Pennsylvania State Parks! To make reservations or for more information, please visit: dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/exploreyourparks/.