New to camping? Try it for $20!

Have you camped with kids? I was a little scared to try, but we did it last summer.  Remember last summer? It rained. The whole time. And it was freezing cold. So that was awesome. Not. Our brand new Fancy Brand tent leaked, so our kids were wet AND freezing. Of course we had our dog, who added an interesting perspective. And by perspective, I mean aroma. We gave up after one night.

So now we don’t even have a tent. I found this program from The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Gander Mountain (which, by the way, I cannot say with out immediately shouting HUNT CAMP FISH afterwords) that I’m pretty excited about. Has anyone tried it? It looks like you can kind of  ‘test drive’ camping and see if it is for you.

The First Time Campers Program provides:

  •  Two Nights of Camping
  • Two daily motor vehicle permits
  • Gear provided by Gander Mountain (HUNT CAMP FISH!) including a 4-person tent, a tarp, 2 camp chairs, a flashlight, a lantern, a camp stove, 4 hot dog /marshmallow cookers, and 2 fishing poles.
  • Hands-on instruction on setting up camp and outdoor living from Michigan’s most experienced campers.

You don’t get to keep the stuff, but still; that’s awesome! If you want to give it a try, contact the park where you want to stay, and ask to enroll in the First Time Camper program. Cabins are available for an extra $15 at some parks. That might not be a bad idea… Check the DNR website for the parks that have this program.

Or, if you just want to go for the day and sleep in your own bed at night, AND you are a card carying member of the Grand Rapids Public Library, don’t forget card-holders can check out a day pass to MI State Parks and save the entry fee.  There are some fun “State Parks Explorer” programs that the kids might enjoy, and you can scoot home before the mosquitos come out.

If you’d just like to watch someone else camp from the comfort of your laptop, you can check out WeeShare’s “Celebrate Camping” event, where there will be prizes and reviews of camping gear.  No Deep Woods Off necessary.

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  1. Oh, Jen – this sounds SOOO cool. Wow. Thanks!


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