PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Governor Raimondo signed an executive order earlier this month declaring Sunday the 26th the annual Governor’s Bay Day.
Sunday’s Bay Day included free parking and admission to all state beaches, as well as many family-friendly activities planned in parks and on beaches throughout the state.
Rhode Islanders were also able to fish without a saltwater fishing license on Sunday, and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) waived roundtrip fares to all South County beaches.
In a public statement, Raimondo said off Bay Day it’s “a chance for all Rhode Islanders to enjoy our great beaches and parks. We are so lucky to live in a state where some of the best fishing, hiking and boating are in our backyard. I am hopeful many people can take advantage of this time and relax with family and friends.”
The governor’s social media hashtag “#GovBayDay” became popular with those celebrating the day in the sun, and on the sand.
“It’s great that Rhode Island does this at least for one day to let people try the beaches,” David Nordmark from Connecticut told Eyewitness News, as he began his week-long vacation at Scarborough beach.
The weather wasn’t ideal for a beach day, cloudy with scattered showers, but people who went to the beach tried to make the best of it.
“I haven’t been to the Rhode Island beaches,” Arlene Robie, visiting from Wilmington, North Carolina, told Eyewitness News. “It’s a little chilly compared to where I came from.”
“It’s too bad the weather isn’t nicer,” says Nordmark. “I expected there would be more people here. I was one of the first cars in the parking lot and that was at 8:30am.”
Parking was free at beaches in Charlestown, Narragansett, South Kingstown, and Westerly.
According to the Governor’s office, Rhode Island state beaches attract more than six million visitors each year, who contribute significantly to the state’s $5.8 billion dollar tourism industry.