PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is encouraging Rhode Islanders to buy season beach passes online or in advance to help ease traffic backups into parking lots and reduce the amount of time beachgoers spend at the entry booths. The online purchase option is accessible here. Individuals may purchase resident, non-resident, or senior season beach passes at this site.
"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," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "To help everyone get on the beach as quickly as possible, we encourage people to buy their season pass online ahead of time. And for those who plan to buy their parking pass at the beach on weekdays, please have your registration ready to show the beach attendant. This will help the registration lines keep moving and beachgoers will have more time to spend on the beach – instead of waiting in line at the entrance booth."
Beachgoers Encouraged to Purchase Parking Passes Online or in Advance Rhode Island State beaches opened on Monday, June 1. DEM is pleased to report that to date, it has sold almost 3,400 season beach passes online or in advance. DEM announced its online purchasing option May 29.
Season passes no longer require a physical pass to be placed on vehicle windshields as passes are now tied to an individual's license plate. Beach attendants use hand-held devices to scan the front license plate for information and anyone who buys their pass online or before heading to the beach will be able to use newly installed express lanes for quick entry. The express lanes will be operational by mid-June.
Along with the online option, season beach parking passes also may be purchased in person at all state beach locations on weekdays and on weekends and holidays at the Scarborough State Beach overflow lot. DEM urges customers purchasing a season pass to have their registration ready to show the attendant. New this year, daily flex passes will be available for purchase online at by mid-June. Online credit card purchases are charged a 6% transaction charge; the total for a $30 RI resident season pass purchased online is $31.80.
In-person opportunities to buy season beach parking passes are available at the following locations:
o The Scarborough State Beach overflow lot located across the street from Scarborough State Beach (870 Ocean Road, Narragansett) from 9 AM to 6 PM on weekends and holidays.
o Entrance booths at all state saltwater beaches starting Monday, June 1. Season beach passes will only be available for purchase at entrance booths on weekdays from 9 AM to 6 PM. Passes will not be available at beach entrance booths on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.
The daily beach parking fee (now known as a flex pass) for residents is $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. The fee for a season pass for residents is $30 and, through Labor Day, will be available for purchase. Non-resident parking is $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends and holidays. A season pass is $60 for non-residents. A 50% discount on daily parking fees and season passes applies for senior citizens 65 years and older. Fees are based solely on the vehicle registration (i.e., license plate) of each vehicle entering beach facilities. All Rhode Island-registered vehicles will be subject to resident parking rates; non-Rhode Island plates will be subject to non-resident rates. (By law, a "vehicle" is defined as any street-legal equipment, motorized or non-motorized, properly registered for over-the-road travel.)
Any Rhode Islander who already holds a 2019 no-cost disability beach pass may continue to use it for entry into state beach parking lots for the 2020 season. Those who have misplaced their 2019 pass or who are eligible for a new no-cost disability pass may contact the RI State Parks Headquarters at 667-6200 for instructions on how to obtain their pass.
The number of parking spots will be reduced at most locations. Parking gates may need to be closed at times depending on beach capacity. New this year, beach attendants will be collecting parking fees until 6 PM daily. Beachgoers should expect that they may encounter traffic backups and closed lots. Please be patient and plan for delays.
Visitors Must Abide by Rules Regarding Social Distancing, Group Size to Safely Enjoy the Outdoors DEM understands that this is a unique season and the beach experience will be different. Whether in the sand or the waves, beachgoers will be required to follow social distancing guidelines and remain at least six feet from others outside their household. When you follow these guidelines, you are doing your part to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.
While enjoying outdoor spaces, residents must continue to follow the CDC and RI Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread COVID-19:
• If you're not feeling well, stay home! Signs and symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
• Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors.
• For the safety of all visitors, please have a face covering with you and wear it in public areas and if you are within 6 feet of another person who is outside your household. The only exceptions from these rules are for people with disabilities, anyone whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering, or any children under 2 years old.
• Avoid close contact with others outside your household, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives.
• Bring and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.
DEM continues to accept applications for qualified lifeguards for state beach facilities. Entry level and senior lifeguard positions are still available at numerous locations throughout the state. All lifeguard positions require certification and special training in first aid, CPR, and senior lifesaving.
Carry-in/Carry-Out Trash Policy Everyone who enjoys parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces has a responsibility to keep them clean. Consistent with this ethic, DEM will continue the carry-in/carry-out trash policy that has been in effect since 1992. Using announcements, social media, signage, and advertising, DEM aims to raise public awareness of the positive values of bringing waste-free lunches and reusable meal and drink containers to the beach and the negative impacts of ugly and unsanitary trash on shorelines.
"The carry-in/carry-out policy is a best practice across the country because it promotes conservation, fosters a sense of stewardship, and leads to better visitor experiences," said Director Coit.
DEM advises everyone to follow guidance about COVID-19 from Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health. More information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island's response can be found here: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/
For outdoor recreation updates, visit http://riparks.com/covid19
For updates on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.