Let's Go Camping Program for New Campers at Oregon's State Parks

Tent Camping at Bullard Beach State Park, OregonYou're never too old to learn about camping at Oregon's State Parks.  No gear?  No problem.  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has started a program called Let's Go Camping.  The program gives people the opportunity to experience the joys of overnight camping, even if they've never been camping before.

Camping at Bullard Beach State ParkParks employee Jimmy Childs started the program.  He and his volunteer staff spend many of their weekends sharing their camping passion and knowledge with inexperienced campers.  It's Camping 101 with lots of fun enjoying nature, fresh air, and s'mores.  Learn about campfire safety and Dutch oven cooking.

Coquille River Lighthouse, Oregon CoastCamping gear is supplied for the particpants that need it.  At a cost of just $20 per family, it's too much of a bargain to pass up.  For more information, contact Jimmy Childs at 503-872-5324 or jimmy.childs@state.or.us.  To register for a weekend, call Reservations Northwest at 1-888-953-7677.

Below is a list of the Let's Go Camping events and locations from 2012 to give you an idea of the camping adventures and experiences available.  Contact the program coordinator for the current year's schedule.

2012 Event Locations for Lets Go Camping

If you're interested in sharing your camping knowledge as a volunteer for this innovative program, contact Jill Nishball at 503-986-0752 or jill.nishball@state.or.us.  Camp at a State Park for free and help others to learn why camping outdoors can be a great experience no matter the age.

Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest.  He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.

To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook.  You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.


Comment balloon 17 commentsRetired from ActiveRain • October 28 2012 11:06AM


What a fabulous program, Rick! Did you know there is a camp ground right in San Francisco itself? They have a similar program, which I really need to investigate.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 7 years ago

Lottie: Thanks for commenting.  Are you talking about the Rob Hill Campground at The Presidio in San Francisco?  I didn't know there was a campground there and I lived in Belmont for awhile.  I'm glad to hear that there is a similar program in California.  My parents took us camping as kids and we have fond memories of those experiences to this day.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 7 years ago

I would love to bring the grandchildrena and camp in your lovely place..

Posted by Ginger Harper, Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County! (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage) over 7 years ago

We have that program here in Minnesota, too.  It is a great way to introduce "couch potatotes" to the great outdoors.  Me?  I have been camping for over 50 years.

Posted by Ron Marshall, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire (Marshall Enterprises) over 7 years ago

Oregon has some beautiful and well-maintained parks.  In the summer, it can be difficult to find a campsite available - especially on the Coast.  Tourism is one of the state's biggest industries and locals enjoy camping.  I always like seeing families with young kids in campgrounds.  It's interesting to walk through the campground and see all of the different camping gear in use.

My wife and I were campground hosts in 2003 at Alpine Divide Campground in the White Mountains of Arizona near the New Mexico border.  We lived in a 10-man tent with carpeting, dresser drawers, and a queen-size mattress frame.  There was no electricity and running water.  It was the best summer that we spent and we'd have done it again if my semi-retirement didn't have to end.

Posted by Anonymous over 7 years ago

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.  I'm glad to hear that some other states have similar programs.  The program wouldn't be possible without a small cadre of volunteers who believe in the program's purpose and dedicate their time, energy, and enthusiasm so that others can learn to camp and experience the outdoors.

I spoke with the founder, Jimmy Childs, recently about another Parks program that I'm getting involved with.  I'd been intrigued about the Let's Go Camping program after reading a brochure at Cape Lookout State Park when we were camping there last summer.  When Jimmy mentioned that he started Let's Go Camping and spent many of his weekends teaching "Camping 101", I decided to write this post.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 7 years ago

Rick:  I would just LOVE to go camping.  Just find me an Embassy Suites near the campgrounds and I'm all set.  Love their Happy Hours!

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 7 years ago

Rick, this is such a great way to introduce families to tent camping. When my kids were little camping was our preferred vacation. My kids are both in college now. I bet if I said we're going to go camping over spring break, they'd be thrilled. It's a love that never dies.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 7 years ago


Sounds like a great program and a beneficial one. Great post. :)


Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) over 7 years ago

My son just moved to Portland, I can wait to visit and see all that OR has to offer. I will be sending him your link this morning.

Posted by Sharon Kowitz, Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling (CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Fonville Morisey Cary, NC) over 7 years ago

Rick, this is a very good program especially for first time campers. At that price it is well worth the cost to see if camping is your thing.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Karen Anne: There usually aren't Embassy Suites near State Parks.  I'd recommend the "Let's Not Go Camping" program for you. )  Day trips are a good way to experience nature's beauty without having to get too close to nature.

Tammie: Our family had four boys, so our vacations had to be affordable.  We have many fond memories of camping in Arizona's White Mountains and at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  Now we take my father camping and he still loves to go.

Steve: Maybe I'll see you in Oregon's State Parks one day.

Sharon: Portland is a great city to live in.  He is going to enjoy it there.  The Columbia River waterfalls and Mt. Hood are not far away.

Michael: The price can't be beat.  Some people may experience "cell phone withdrawal" though.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 7 years ago

Rick, I knew that about the Embassy Suites.  I was just trying to be "cute."  Years and years ago I did some camping... both with the Girl Scouts, and on my own.  At one time, I even owned my very own canoe, and used to go upriver and explore the covered bridges in some great areas east of Cleveland.

I'm just too old for that stuff now, is all.  The closest I would like would be to take a wonderful train ride across the Canadian Rockies.  I have seen videos of it, and it is beautiful.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 7 years ago

Karen Anne: My father took that trip by train across the Canadian Rockies and really enjoyed it.  I hope that you'll be able to do this someday.  The Oregon State Parks has a program called Camping Lite.  You can stay in a yurt, cabin, or teepee in many parks, rather than having to pitch a tent.  These facilities have electricity and heat.  You bring your own sleeping and cooking gear.  We're camping in a deluxe cabin at LaPine State Park in December.  This is a popular program and the yurts, cabins, and teepees are frequently reserved.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 7 years ago

Wow that's a great program!  I'm up in Washington and might have to try that out sometime!

Posted by Spectrum Inspection Group (Spectrum Inspection Group) over 7 years ago

Rick, that sounds like a great program. A nice low cost way to introduce a family to the joys of camping - I like it.

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) over 7 years ago

Mark: Come to Oregon and give it a try.  I'll probably write another post when the 2013 Let's Go Camping program is released.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain over 7 years ago