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State Park Camping Tips for First Time Visitors

New interest in the great outdoors

One of the positives to come out of the pandemic is an increased interest in the great outdoors. Outdoor gear and RV sales are booming, and many people are flocking to the state parks to camp for the first time. If you’re new to state park camping, read on for some helpful tips.

Reservations & Check-in

Reservations are an absolute must – hopefully you already got those secured! For popular destinations, you will want to make reservations as soon as they open. Check in procedures will vary by campground, but typically campsite check-in opens at 2:30pm and check-out is at 1pm. Early arrival is generally not encouraged. Staff and volunteers need time to clean and prepare your campsite. If you’re early, a discover pass will allow you to park in the day use section of the park.

Park Accommodations and Regulations


The campfire is the quintessential camping activity. Many parks sell firewood; you can check on the park’s website to verify this. You are asked not to cut trees or gather wood at the park. You will need to bring it with you or purchase at the park. Campfires are also not allowed during the entirety of the summer do to fire danger. You can check for campfire burn ban information on the park’s web page, or on the State Park alert center.


Pets are welcome in campsites; however, all pets must be kept under physical control, on a leash no greater than eight feet in length, or otherwise physically restrained, at all times while in a state park area. You are also asked to keep your pets out of designated swimming areas.


You may have visitors at the state park, however, they will need either an annual Discover Pass or a day-use pass. Visitors can park overnight for a $10 nightly fee as long as you do not exceed site capacity (i.e., no more than 8 persons per campsite).

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