R.I. beaches to open Saturday; AAA predicts heavy Memorial Day traffic

PROVIDENCE – All Rhode Island state beaches will be open daily starting Saturday, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management announced in a press release on Thursday.
As the reduced parking fees remain in effect, parking will cost Rhode Island residents $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. A season pass is $30 and is effective until Sept. 4. Nonresident parking is 12$ on weekdays, $14 on weekends and the state offers $60 season passes to nonresidents for the summer.

Memorial Day travel forecast

As the beaches open and Memorial Day weekend kicks off, AAA predicts heavy traffic throughout New England. According to a AAA Northeast press release, an estimated 1.78 million New Englanders will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, the highest number since 2005, a 2.8 percent increase from 2016. “The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Mary Maguire, director of public and legislative affairs for AAA Northeast, in a statement. “Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”

An estimated 1.6 million New Englanders will travel by car, 2.7 percent higher than a year ago. Nationwide, AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend, 1 million more travelers than last year, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.

Newport readies for summer

The prospect of increased travel this weekend has Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport, excited. Discover Newport issued a press release in response to the positive AAA travel report.
“Our destination has captured a very rare proficiency for offering visitors an authentic look at American history,” said Smith in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming returning visitors as well as new ones, especially with the new airlines and routes coming into T.F.  Green.”
So far this year, T.F. Green Airport has added service from Norwegian Airlines and Frontier Airlines, which will begin in July and August, respectively.
DEM upgrades parks in preparation for summer
DEM also announced it has made upgrades to parks in preparation for the summer including:
A new pavilion at Lincoln Woods State Park.
New restrooms and shower facilities at Scarborough North and South State Beach as well as new flower beds at each site.
New restrooms and shower facilities at the George Washington Memorial Campground.
Revamped tennis and basketball courts at Fisherman’s Memorial Campground.