PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Before a trip to the beach this summer, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking Rhode Islanders to buy their beach parking passes online ahead of time.
Rhode Island States Beaches opened Monday and DEM hopes beachgoers buying passes in advance will ease traffic backups and reduce the amount of time visitors spend at the entry booths.
Since May 29, DEM has sold nearly 3,400 beach passes.
“While I am happy that state beaches are open to the public, it is important for Rhode Islanders to
know that the lots may fill quickly,” DEM Director Janet Coit said.
Parking spots will be reduced this year to limit capacity at beaches because of the coronavirus pandemic, Coit said, adding that beachgoers should expect traffic backups and closed lots. In addition, anyone who buys their pass online will be able to use a new express lane for quick entry.
Coit said season passes no longer require a physical pass to be placed on a vehicle’s windshield, but are now tied to the purchaser’s license plate. Beach attendants only need to scan the front license plate for the information, she said.
Beachgoers are urged to follow the state’s guidelines while visiting any of the state’s beaches:
- If you are not feeling well, stay home.
- Whether in the sand or the waves, keep 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Keep a face covering with you to wear in public places and when within 6 feet of others.
- Avoid close contact with those outside of your household.
- Bring and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid unnecessary contact with high-touch surfaces.
While the DEM is encouraging everyone to purchase their parking passes online, they can also be purchased in-person at all state beaches on weekdays and at the Scarborough State Beach overflow lot on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Daily online “flex passes” will be available online in mid-June.
“For those who plan to buy their parking pass at the beach on weekdays, please have your registration ready to show the beach attendant,” Coit said. “This will help the registration lines keep moving and beach goers will have more time to spend on the beach, instead of waiting in line at the entrance booth.”
A season pass for a Rhode Island resident costs $30, while passes for out-of-state visitors will cost $60. All passes will be valid through Labor Day.
For those not interested in purchasing a seasonal pass, daily beach parking fees for residents are $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. Non-residents will pay $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends and holidays. There is a 50% discount for senior citizens 65 and older, and fees are based on the vehicle’s registration state.
The DEM is also continuing to accept applications for qualified lifeguards.