PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A popular summer travel option and beautiful way to view Narragansett Bay returned on Friday.

The Providence to Newport Ferry Service set sail for its seventh season of taking travelers from the capital city to Aquidneck Island, and with gas prices continuing to rise, the ferry may be more popular than ever this summer.

“Leave your car at home. You don’t have to worry about parking, traffic and now the excessive price of fuel,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said Friday. “With the fuel prices out there, this becomes — especially with the low rates — it becomes a very competitive alternative.”

“There is no better place to be in this summer season than Rhode Island,” Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos added.

The ferry makes several trips per day. According to RIDOT, it carried nearly 32,000 passengers last season, despite the pandemic.

It also provides a boost to the economy, Alviti said, with more than $2 million worth of revenue in Newport stemming from ferry riders.

“It’s an offering for tourism to come and see Rhode Island from the bay, see the beauty, but it also helps our residents get back and forth,” Rhode Island Commerce President Hilary Fagan said.

The ferry runs through Columbus Day weekend, and service to Bristol will also be available on weekends and the Fourth of July.

Free parking is available at the ferry terminal on India Street in Providence, and there’s shuttle service from the train station and convention center.

The Newport terminal is located on America’s Cup Avenue, while the Bristol stop is on Thames Street.

The trip takes about an hour and pets and bicycles can be brought on board.

Visit ridethebay.com for the ferry schedule, ticket prices and more information.