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RI Beaches Opening Memorial Day Weekend

[CREDIT: DEM] East Matunuck State Beach, Narragansett. DEM says there will be many RI Beaches Open Memorial Day weekend.

[CREDIT: DEM] East Matunuck State Beach, Narragansett. DEM says there will be many RI Beaches Open Memorial Day weekend.
[CREDIT: DEM] East Matunuck State Beach, Narragansett. DEM says there will be many RI Beaches Open Memorial Day weekend.
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island beaches will open Saturday to early showers clearing to a pleasant 75 degrees, and DEM wants you to know you can buy beach passes for parking online, in advance.

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is encouraging residents to buy their RI state beach parking passes early online. Individuals may purchase resident, non-resident, or senior season beach parking passes at this site as well as daily flex passes, which allow for one-day parking.

“The opening of our beaches is always a special time, and especially after the year we’ve all had,” said DEM Director Janet Coit.  “We hope you make time this weekend to visit one of these spectacular places with your family and friends to watch the waves roll in or take a walk along the water’s edge. And to help you get on the beach as quickly as possible, there are many convenient options for Rhode Islanders and visitors to get a season or daily parking pass ahead of time.”

Scarborough North, Salty Brine, East Matunuck, Roger Wheeler, Charlestown Breachway, East Beach, and Misquamicut state beaches will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends starting Saturday, according to DEM. Freshwater and bay beaches will also open daily beginning Saturday, May 29 through Labor Day. These beaches include Lincoln Woods State Park, Goddard Memorial State Park, Burlingame Picnic Area, Pulaski Park, and Fort Adams State Park.

Scarborough South in Narragansett will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily beginning Saturday, June 19 through August 22, and on weekends-only from August 23 through September 6.  Labor Day is the last day of the season that all state beaches will be staffed with lifeguards, rangers and restroom attendants. Inclement weather may also limit staffing and amenities at these beaches.

DEM: Take advantage of flex passes

DEM is encouraging Rhode Islanders to buy season and daily flex parking passes online or in advance. Anyone who buys a season parking pass or a daily flex parking pass online or before heading to the beach will be able to use the express lanes for quick beach entry. Purchasing season or daily flex parking passes online will also help DEM keep the express lanes open, as there have been past instances when the express lanes could not be used because too many people were paying for parking at the entry gates rather using pre-paid parking passes. Express lanes are available at all state beaches except for East Beach, Charlestown Breachway and Salty Brine, which are one-lane facilities.

Rhode Islanders should be aware that the lots may fill quickly. People should expect that they may encounter traffic backups and closed lots. Please be patient and plan for delays.

Season parking passes no longer require a physical pass to be placed on vehicle windshields as passes are now tied to an individual’s license plate. Beach attendants use hand-held devices to scan the front license plate for information and anyone who buys their parking pass online or before heading to the beach will be able to use express lanes for quick entry.

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Online daily flex parking passes allow beachgoers to save their payment information into their beach parking account and are charged the daily parking rate only when they enter beach parking lots. This flex parking pass is a great option if you are unsure how many times you may be able to visit the beach but would like the opportunity to utilize the express lanes.

Parking pass purchases in person

Along with the online option, season beach parking passes also may be purchased in person at the Scarborough State Beach overflow lot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. This is the parking lot located directly across from Scarborough North with the entrance off Burnside Avenue. Season parking passes are not available at state beach entrance booths. DEM urges customers purchasing a season parking pass at the overflow lot to have their registration ready to show the attendant to allow for these transactions to occur quickly and efficiently.  This lot will close to season parking pass sales in the event that the overflow lot needs to be used for parking on busy, high traffic days. Online credit card purchases are charged a 6% transaction charge; the total for a $30 RI resident season pass purchased online is $31.80.

The daily beach parking fee (now known as a flex parking pass when purchased online) for residents is $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. The fee for a season parking pass for residents is $30 and will be available for purchase through Labor Day. Non-resident parking is $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends and holidays. A season parking pass is $60 for non-residents. A 50% discount on daily parking fees and season parking passes applies for senior citizens 65 years and older. Fees are based solely on the vehicle registration (i.e., license plate) of each vehicle entering beach facilities. All Rhode Island-registered vehicles will be subject to resident parking rates; non-Rhode Island plates will be subject to non-resident rates. (By law, a “vehicle” is defined as any street-legal equipment, motorized or non-motorized, properly registered for over-the-road travel.)

No-cost disability passes are available for those who are eligible. Please contact RI State Parks Headquarters at 667-6200 for questions on how to obtain this pass and to make an appointment.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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