About About

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


For more information visit www.parks.state.co.us/camping/Pages/LetsCamp.aspx or contact newcampers@state.co.us.


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 cholden@dnr.state.md.us.


Massachusetts State Parks

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), through its Becoming an Outdoors Family, continues to support the national No Child Left Inside – Children in Nature movement through numerous family-focused programs in our state park system. The annual “Learn to Camp” program fosters outdoor skill development and encourages positive family experiences. New and novice family “campers” are invited to attend a weekend camping program rich with facilitated outdoor activities and camping opportunities in state parks.


The 2013 summer series will host four different "Learn to Camp" weekends in locations across the state. The goals of the 2013 Becoming An Outdoors Family program are to expand access to the program through increased dates and venues; and to increase skills through a broader menu of self-guided opportunities.


The 2013 Becoming an Outdoors Family is sponsored by The North Face and its Explore Your Parks program.


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, East Otis- August 10 & 11


Click here to download the Registration Packet. For more information please contact Julie Martin at (617) 626-4962 or visit www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/.


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

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) with support from The North Face and its national Explore Your Parks™ program, is working with the state Office of Children and Family Services to encourage foster families to get outdoors this summer and enjoy New York’s treasured park system. This unique partnership offers overnight camping experiences to foster families who are new to camping or looking to re-connect with nature. The 135 families who registered will be participating this summer at campgrounds across the state.


This camping program is providing gift cards for a free two-night stay at any of 50+ New York State Park campgrounds. Many of the parks participate in the Camper Assistance Program with volunteers on hand at various points throughout the season to welcome new campers and enrich their visitor experience. Along with the gift card and reservation information, participating foster families will receive from State Parks a special camping experience package with Camping 101 tips, a knapsack, a keepsake, and customized information about outdoor programs, trail maps, events and family-friendly activities. Participants who share their fun photos or memories will also have the chance to win a full North Face camping equipment package.


Registration is full for 2013. For any additional questions or information, please contact Wendy Gibsonat wendy.gibson@parks.ny.gov.


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 . 


Visit parks.ohiodnr.gov/stay-informed/camping-101 for more information or contact Jean Backs at (614) 265-7077 or jean.backs@dnr.state.oh.us.


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/