PROVIDENCE – Continuing a practice it began several years ago, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that it has opened two state surf beaches – Scarborough North and Roger Wheeler, both located in Narragansett – before the traditional start of the summer outdoor recreation season on Memorial Day weekend. Going to the beach could help Rhode Islanders beat the heat, with the National Weather Service forecasting the season’s first 90+ degree days with elevated humidity May 21-22 away from the immediate coast.
There will be full amenities at both beaches with lifeguards, restrooms, and concessions. Visitors arriving in cars will have to pay a daily parking fee unless they already have purchased their daily flex pass or season parking pass online (www.beachparkingri.com). The daily beach parking fee is $7 on weekends ($14 for non-residents). Prepaid customers may use the express lanes at both beaches for speedier access. DEM’s parking vendor employs license plate recognition technology at the express lanes whereby a scan is taken of the rear license plates of prepaid customers confirming that the customer has paid to allow for quick entry. Please allow space for the car at the gate space for the reader to recognize the license plate.
DEM is advising that because of storms since 2021, Scarborough North has experienced some erosion and there is less occupiable beach area than in previous years. This will be particularly pronounced at high tide, which is expected at around 1 PM on May 21 and 2 PM on May 22, when water will be covering most of the beach front. DEM will be monitoring this situation and may not be able to allow both parking lots at Scarborough, the main and overflow lots, to reach capacity.
Along with the online option, season beach parking passes also may be purchased in-person this weekend, at the Scarborough overflow lot located across the street from the beach, and weekdays from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. DEM cautions that if the overflow lot is used for actual beach parking, season beach parking sales will stop. DEM encourages customers to purchase their season and daily flex passes in advance online at www.beachparkingri.com. Daily flex passes allow for one-day parking. DEM asks customers purchasing a season pass in-person at the overflow lot to have their registration information ready to show the attendant to allow for these transactions to occur quickly and efficiently. Transactions prior to June 1 may take 7-10 business days to be confirmed following purchase. Transactions after June 1 until Labor Day are up to 24 hours.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.