Want to Try Camping (On the Cheap)? Here’s How!

Where are the Campers?

States have noticed that ‘going camping’ is a dying art.  State parks especially, have noticed the down-turn in campsite usage.  And some states are doing something about it!

{This article is about Texas parks.  I’ll give suggestions:  how to see if your state has a program.}

The New Wrinkle in Camping: Your Tent Attached to Your Vehicle!

Texas Outdoor Family Program

Chris Holmes, director of the program, Texas Outdoor Family, explains. “We’ve recognized that fewer and fewer people are camping, especially in state parks.

People are becoming more and more disconnected from the environment, and they view the outdoors as a scary place. This new generation of parents never went camping themselves, so they just don’t know how to camp.”

Texas Parks & Wildlife has created a program for folks interested in giving camping a try … but don’t know where to start.

What to Expect

This weekend adventure includes camping equipment, expert help and learning activities.  What does the $55 charge include?

  • Individual car camping site for each family (up to 8 persons),
  • the camping equipment needed for the weekend,
  • professional park ranger-led programs and instruction,
  • a curriculum developed specifically for use and enjoyment of a state park,
  • state park junior ranger certification programs,
  • a “Leave No Trace” certified program,
  • restrooms with hot showers and
  • overnight state park police officer and security.

Before You Arrive

After signing up for the adventure, you receive checklists:

  • a suggested packing list for personal items and
  • special shopping list and menu

What Will You Do When You Get There?

Instructors will teach you how to

  • choose a good camp site
  • set up a camping tent
  • start a safe fire and
  • enjoy family camp cooking

Things that Vary According to Park

Everyone learns the basic skills.  However, parks offer different amenities.  They may include:

  • fishing
  • kayaking
  • equestrian skills
  • wildcrafting:  the art of finding useful and edible plants
  • “geo-caching” a game involving the use of a GPS device to track down a “cache” or a supply box filled with “treasures” for the kids
  • programs are available for minority or special-needs groups

Sounds Great … Where Do I Sign Up?

Check www.tpwd.state.tx.us/outdoorfamily for dates, locations.

Call the Texas P&W Reservations Center:   512- 389-8903.  Operators answer questions & make reservations.

After registration, a confirmation packet will arrive with directions and more details.


How about your state?

Google:  (your state) programs + family camping

(ie: ) Virginia programs + family camping


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