PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in Southern New England.

Whether you’re hitting the road, hosting a barbecue or attending an event, this guide has everything you need to plan ahead.

Jump to a section: Travel Tips | Weather Forecast | Beach Information | Local Events


AAA’s forecast shows that despite rising inflation, travel continues to rebound from the pandemic. AAA expects roughly 42.3 million Americans will travel between Thursday and Monday, only a few hundred thousand fewer than in May 2019.

The majority of those travelers (37 million) will be doing so by car, according to AAA, while more than 3 million people are expected to fly and nearly 2 million will travel by train and other methods. AAA says it could be the busiest Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005.

Gas prices have come down slightly in recent weeks, averaging $3.40 per gallon in Rhode Island and $3.43 in Massachusetts. The national average is slightly higher at $3.54 per gallon.

Here are the best and worst times to travel by car, according to AAA:

DateBest TimeWorst Time
Thursday, May 25Before 1 p.m.3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, May 26Before 12 p.m.3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 27Minimal traffic expectedMinimal traffic expected
Sunday, May 28Minimal traffic expectedMinimal traffic expected
Monday, May 29Before 10 a.m.12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesday, May 30Before 2 p.m., After 6 p.m.4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Pinpoint Traffic: Interactive Map, Live Cameras & Alerts »


After a warm weekend, it will be a little cooler on Memorial Day, but it will still be very nice. Temperatures in the afternoon will top out in the upper 60s to around 70 with winds from the northeast 10-20mph.

Jump to a section: Travel Tips | Weather Forecast | Beach Information | Local Events

Beach Information

Memorial Day is the start of beach season in Rhode Island, with most state beaches opening fully.

The exception this year is Scarborough South which is slated to open daily starting Father’s Day weekend, but that could change due to seasonal staffing, according to the DEM.

Avid beachgoers can register for a season parking pass online, which can be used at all eight state beaches. The passes cost $30 for residents, $15 for senior residents, $60 for non-residents, and $30 for senior non-residents. Residency is based on the registration of the vehicle being used.

Ocean, Bay & Beach // A look at the conditions by the coast »

Local Events

On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the men and women who have died defending our freedom.

Ceremonies to honor our fallen service members will be held around Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts this weekend, along with parades and other events.

LIST: Memorial Day ceremonies, parades and other events »