Never camped under the stars before? Try it for free in New York with all the gear included and someone to help set it up.

When it comes to camping, it really "takes a lot of stuff." So much stuff, that it discourages many people from even trying to spend a night outdoors.

The Department of Environmental Conservation will take care of the stuff part, by offering 1st time campers a free weekend with all the stuff included.

READ MORE: New State Park Gives Access to New York Waterfall for First Time in 100 Years

Summer camp drop off sign

First Time Camper Program

The campsites will not only include the stuff, but a guy to help you set it all up.

The First-Time Camper Program provides a family tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, lanterns, and firewood. The "Camping Ambassador" will meet you at the campsite to help set up and offer basic camping tips like fishing knowledge, hiking, bird watching, and paddling info too.

New York State's First-Time Camper Program makes sleeping under the stars for the first time easy by providing a turnkey camping experience for families, especially those from underserved communities, that have never camped before.

READ MORE: 2 New Camping Options in New York for 2024 Season

A delighted family toasting marshmallows on a fun camping trip

Camping Lottery

First-time campers can enter a lottery starting June 13 and choose one of 8 camping locations in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.

North South Lake Campground (Catskills) - July 12-14
Ausable Point Campground (Adirondacks) - July 19-21
Luzerne Campground (Adirondacks) - July 26-28
Cranberry Lake Campground (Adirondacks) - August 2-4
Northampton Beach Campground (Adirondack) - August 9-11
Mongaup Pond Campground (Catskills) - August 16-18
Kenneth L. Wilson Campground (Catskills) - August 23-25

READ MORE: 9 Spots to Enjoy Camping and Waterfalls in New York State Parks This Summer

Participants will be randomly selected to fill camper slots.

9 Spots to Enjoy Camping & Waterfalls in New York State Parks

Hike by waterfalls during the day and sleep under the stars at night at these 13 New York State Parks.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Live Out Your '1883' Fantasy in Covered Wagons at New Camping Resort

Travel back in time to when the Dutton family made their way across the Great Plains to the Yellowstone Ranch at a new camping resort in New York.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Largest Heated Campground Pool in Northeast

Moose Hillock Camping Resort is home to the largest heated campground pool in the Northeast.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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