With this weekend’s high temperatures expected to soar into the 80s, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking Rhode Islanders to expect and be patient with parking delays at state beaches. 

“With the start of the peak summer season tomorrow, we anticipate that all of our beach facilities will be busy and reach capacity,” said DEM Director Janet Coit.  “It is important for Rhode Islanders to know that the lots may fill quickly. If you arrive at a favorite beach and find that crowds are forming or the parking lot is full, please leave and choose a different location or return at another time of day.”

In order to reduce overcrowding, the number of parking spots has been reduced at most state beaches. Parking gates may need to be closed at times depending on beach capacity. New this year, beach attendants will be collecting parking fees until 6 PM daily. Beachgoers should expect that they may encounter traffic backups and closed lots. Please be patient and plan for delays. DEM environmental police officers are stationed at state beaches and are diverting traffic when overcrowding conditions occur.

DEM is asking people to be good stewards and take personal responsibility,  For the safety of all visitors, people are required to follow social distancing guidelines and will need to wear a face covering in high use areas such as pavilions and restrooms, and if they are within six feet of another person outside their household. When you follow these guidelines, you are doing your part to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

To help ease traffic backups into parking lots and reduce the amount of time beachgoers spend at the entry booths, DEM is encouraging Rhode Islanders to buy season and daily beach passes online or in advance. The online purchase option is accessible here. Any Rhode Islander who already holds a 2019 no-cost disability beach pass may continue to use it for entry into state beach parking lots for the 2020 season. Those who have misplaced their 2019 pass or who are eligible for a new no-cost disability pass may contact the RI State Parks Headquarters at 667-6200 for instructions on how to obtain their pass.

Everyone who enjoys parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces has a responsibility to keep them clean. Consistent with this ethic, DEM will continue the carry-in/carry-out trash policy that has been in effect since 1992. Using announcements, social media, signage, and advertising, DEM aims to raise public awareness of the positive values of bringing waste-free lunches and reusable meal and drink containers to the beach and the negative impacts of ugly and unsanitary trash on shorelines.

For outdoor recreation updates, visit http://riparks.com/covid19

For updates on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.