Vermont State Parks Announces First Time Happy Campers Program

10 July 2018

Try out camping for free, gear included

Vermont State Parks is excited to launch its new First Time Happy Campers Program at five parks during the months of July and August. Created in partnership with the Outdoor Gear Exchange, this program provides free camping for new campers whose names will be chosen at random when they register through

The program is designed to encourage families who haven’t camped before to give it a try. Participants will receive a free campsite, firewood, tents, camp stove, lantern and sleeping pads. If campers don’t have sleeping bags or don’t want to bring bedding from home, they can purchase sleeping bags online from the Outdoor Gear Exchange for a discounted rate of $34.95 for delivery to their home or pick up upon arrival at the park.

On Friday night, campers will be met by friendly park interpreters who will show them around and help set up their camp, providing camping tips and support throughout the weekend. Campers can attend interpretive programs, check out free fishing gear and enjoy all the parks have to offer.

Prior to the trip, participants will receive a packet containing a packing list and tips, meal and recipe ideas and other information to prepare them for their trip.

Participating parks are Bomoseen, Button Bay, Grand Isle, Stillwater and Woodford.

Interested campers can sign up at and choose the park and weekend of their choice. Two families will be chosen each weekend with campsites located near each other, so they can meet other families new to camping. If many applicants choose the same weekend, winning entries will be selected at random.