The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced Wednesday that Scarborough North and Roger Wheeler state beaches will be open Saturdays and Sundays only, weather permitting, from Saturday, May 15 until Memorial Day to accommodate early beachgoers. State beaches will officially be open daily from Saturday, May 29 – the traditional start of the summer outdoor recreation season – until Labor Day.
“Accessibility to outdoor recreation venues where families and friends can relax and share special times is part of DEM’s mission,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “After the year we’ve all had, we’re glad to open two popular state beaches early so that Rhode Islanders can get outside and enjoy themselves when crowds are light. We encourage beachgoers to plan for the summer and buy season parking passes or our new daily flex pass now using our convenient online option, which is accessible at www.riparks.com.”
To help reduce the amount of time beachgoers spend at the entry booths once the beaches open, DEM is encouraging Rhode Islanders to buy season and daily flex passes online or in advance. Anyone who buys a season pass or a daily flex pass online or before heading to the beach will be able to use the express lanes for quick beach entry. Purchasing season or daily flex passes online will also help DEM keep the express lanes open, as there have been past instances when the express lanes could not be used because too many people were paying for parking at the entry gates rather using pre-paid parking passes. Express lanes are available at all state beaches except for East Beach, Charlestown Breachway and Salty Brine, which are one-lane facilities.
Passes and gift certificates are available for purchase at www.riparks.com/beach-pass. Individuals may purchase resident, non-resident, or senior season beach passes at this site as well as daily flex passes, which allow for one-day parking. Online daily flex passes allow beachgoers to save their payment information into their beach parking account and are charged the daily parking rate only when they enter beach parking lots. This flex pass is a great option if you are unsure how many times you may be able to visit the beach but would like the opportunity to utilize the express lanes.
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 express lanes for quick entry.
Along with the online option, season beach parking passes also may be purchased in person at the Scarborough State Beach Overflow Lot located across the street from the beach. Sales at the overflow lot will be open weekends only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Saturday, May 15 and seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Saturday, May 29. Season passes are not available at state beach entrance booths. DEM urges customers purchasing a season pass at the overflow lot to have their registration ready to show the attendant to allow for these transactions to occur quickly and efficiently. Online credit card purchases are charged a 6% transaction charge; the total for a $30 RI resident season pass purchased online is $31.80.
The daily beach parking fee (now known as a flex pass when purchased online) 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.)
DEM has proposed fee changes for daily parking at Misquamicut State Beach; there are no proposed changes to fees at any other state beach location or to the cost of season passes. The proposed new rates are as follows:
• The daily parking rate for non-residents will increase from $12 to $20 on weekdays and from $14 to $30 on weekends & holidays
• The daily parking rate for RI residents will increase from $6 to $10 on weekdays and from $7 to $15 on weekends and holidays.
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