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PINPOINT TRAFFIC BLOG: Beating the RI Beach Gridlock

Easton's Beach Newport_480685

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – Summer is officially in full swing and with temps above average over the last week, the beaches in the Ocean State are always the perfect place to beat the heat.

So, when is the best time to leave to avoid the gridlock?

Hitting the road before 9 a.m. is your best bet for a smooth ride down to the shore. Parking lots typically fill up an hour or two after the beaches open, especially on weekends and holidays.

Narragansett Parks and Recreation Director Steve Wright tells me traffic at the town’s beach is typically heaviest 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., with a lull from 1:30 – 3 p.m., perhaps a good time to head that way.

Making plans to head to Easton’s Beach (1st Beach) in Newport? Check to see what’s happening in the tourist hot spot prior to leaving.

Newport communications officer Tom Shevlin says traffic in the city is very event oriented. The popular summer destination is jam-packed with tourists enjoying the annual international sailing regatta, Gilded Age mansion tours on Bellevue Avenue, museums, shops and more.

For parking purposes – the earlier you arrive the better your chances.

Lifeguards come on duty starting at 9 a.m. at many local beaches including:

  • Easton’s Beach in Newport
  • Westerly Town Beach
  • Matunuck
  • Roger Wheeler
  • East Beach in Charlestown
  • Salty Brine
  • Scarborough

Congestion begins to build around 10 a.m. on Route 4 from Ten Rod Road to Tower Hill. Heading north on your way home from the beach – most days traffic is heaviest 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m and can get backed up to Rte. 108 even before South Pier Rd. in Narragansett.

Westerly Town Beach is often half packed before the lifeguards have even started their shift at 8:15 a.m. – according to beach supervisors. Prepare for heavy delays on Route 78 and beach access roads – by mid-day it is jammed.

Another great way to beat the lines is to buy beach parking passes online before you hit the sand.

Lastly, what’s more disappointing than not being able to take a dip while at the beach? Check the swimming status at your favorite beach before hitting the road.

Melissa Sardelli ( is the Pinpoint Traffic Reporter for WPRI 12 and FOX Providence. If you have a traffic concern or question reach out to me on Twitter @MelissaSardelli or find me on Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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