First-Time Camper Program

First Time Camper Program LogoWe'll help you discover the joy of sleeping under the stars.

If you've always wanted to try camping, but weren't sure how to begin? We can help! Through our First-Time Camper program, you’ll get borrowed gear, expert advice, two-night accommodations and more. Regular camping rates apply. Use of equipment and ranger guidance is provided with the program.

NOTE: We will no longer take First Time Camper reservations after December 31, 2018 as a new program will be coming in 2019.

Camping 101

Our park rangers are eager to share their love for camping and the great outdoors. When you arrive, someone will guide you on how to set up camp and provide insider tips. You’ll even get an emergency phone number to call during the night.

Gear from REI & Coleman

Test out great gear provided by REI & Coleman. and offer lots of helpful expert advice (please bring your own sleeping bag or blanket, and a pillow). There is just one set of loaner camping gear available at each participating park and the gear accommodates a group of up to six people.

  • 1 Six-Person Tent
  • 4 Sleeping Pads
  • 1 Camp Stove with Fuel
  • 4 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Lantern
  • 2 Camp Chairs

CostsREI Camping Gear

  • Regular camping rates apply.
  • $5 ParkPass for the duration of your stay.
  • Many park activities are free, such as hiking, geocaching and fishing. Some activities have a fee, such as mini-golf, boat rental or swimming.

To Qualify

Anyone who has never camped in a Georgia State Park may participate.


Because gear is borrowed, pets are not allowed in the First-Time Camper Program. But if you love the experience and come back again, your dog can enjoy camping too!

Our Campgrounds

Choose from 6 Georgia State Parks. Campsites have water and electric hookups, picnic tables, grills and campfire pits. Bathrooms and hot showers are within walking distance.First Time Camper Park Locations Map

To check on availability and to make reservations, call the Park directly and be sure to identify yourself as a First-Time Camper.

It is recommended that you reserve your space at least two weeks in advance.


Frequently Asked Questions

Contact our program coordinator, Ellen Graham at 706-878-4703 or

Coleman Logo REI Logo

The First-Time Camper Program is being sponsored by generous donations from REI and Coleman. Special thanks for their support!


Check out AmeriCorps GA State Parks for upcoming first time camper programs or first time backpacker events.