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Georgia: A lesson for first-time campers

If you have never camped out, never pitched a tent or made dinner over a campfire or worried what critter was making noise outside your tent, you might find the prospect of camping for the first time a little intimidating.

Georgia State Parks has a way to ease novices into the camping life. Six state campgrounds are offering the First-Time Camper Program, complete with the use of gear and a Camping 101 lesson.

Here’s the deal: For $45, first-time campers (anyone who has never camped in a Georgia State Park) get two nights in a campground, gear borrowed from REI (six-person tent, four inflatable sleeping pads, chairs, camp stove and more), help from park staff in setting up the tent and making a campfire, and a camping lesson. Cost of a staying at one of these campgrounds is usually $25-$29 a night, so the program is a saving on a two-night camping fee already.

The parks are A.H. Stephens State Park in Crawfordville, Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, James H. Floyd State Park near Rome, Reed Bingham State Park in Adel, Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah and Victoria Bryant State Park near Lavonia.

No dogs allowed in the first-timer program.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling the individual parks or the program coordinator, Cindy Reittinger, at 404-657-0029.  Park telephone numbers and details of the program are posted here.