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How to Save Money on Rhode Island State Parks

How to Save Money on Rhode Island State Parks

Rhode Island state parks and beaches that offer stunning natural beauty and recreation opportunities. Enjoying these parks doesn’t have to break the bank.


This article outlines various ways to save money while still making the most of Rhode Island’s state parks. It’s important to remember that access to the parks and beaches are free, but you do have to pay for parking passes.

Free Disability Passes

Rhode Island’s commitment to making its state parks accessible and enjoyable for all is evident in its implementation of State Law 32-1-17. This legislation ensures that individuals with disabilities can experience the state’s recreational facilities without the burden of certain fees.

Understanding the nuances of this law and how to apply for the Disability Pass can help you visit Rhode Island state parks for free!

What Does The Disability Pass Cover?

The law stipulates that no fees, including for parking, admittance, or playing golf, will be charged to a person with a disability. This pass is often called the RI Beach Pass for Disabled People or the Rhode Island Disability Beach Pass.


However, it’s important to note that this does not cover licensing fees, camping fees, picnic table fees, or fees for specialized facilities like equestrian areas or performing art centers.

These passes are valid at several locations, including various state beaches and the Goddard State Golf Course (with specific exclusions). It’s a passport to the state’s natural beauty, ensuring that recreational opportunities are accessible to everyone.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible, individuals must be receiving Social Security disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI), or be a veteran determined to be 100% disabled through a service-connected injury.

There are three types of Rhode Island State Parks disability passes available. You will need to choose the one that is right for you:

  • First Time Disability Pass: Individuals under 65 must present their current year’s Benefit Verification Letter, which needs to be renewed annually.
  • Lifetime Pass for Seniors: Those over 65 can obtain a Lifetime Pass, provided they were receiving disability benefits before turning 65.
  • Disabled Veterans Pass: Veterans must present a current letter from the Veterans Administration, stating a 100% service-connected disability. This pass may require annual renewal, depending on individual circumstances.

Obviously, the type of pass you choose will depend on your age and veteran status.

How Do I Get One?

To obtain a Disability Pass, applicants must present a valid form of photo identification, along with a Benefit Verification Letter from Social Security or a similar document from the Veterans Administration, confirming their eligibility.

You must present this documentation at the DEM Parks Headquarters office in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. It appears you can also submit it via mail or email as well.


If you do not have the documentation available, you can get the forms from the relevant government agencies. VA forms can be downloaded online, and you can usually get Social Security letters from their website as well. This documentation is required and a crucial component of the application process.

Senior Discounts

Rhode Island State Parks also offer attractive discounts for seniors, making it more affordable for older adults to enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities of these natural areas. Whether you’re a resident or visiting from out of state, if you’re 65 years or older, you can benefit from these reduced rates for season passes.

Senior Discounts

Seniors who are residents of Rhode Island enjoy a significant discount on season passes to state parks. This 50% discount is a substantial saving, encouraging local seniors to frequent these natural reserves more often.

The discount is available to resident and non-resident seniors who are over the age of 65. However, out-of-state seniors will only get 50% off the non-resident rate, which means they will pay more than seniors who live in Rhode Island do.

Free Access for RIPAE

Rhode Island further extends its commitment to making state parks accessible to seniors through State Law 32-1-18, which offers a unique benefit to those participating in the Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Elderly (RIPAE) program.

The RIPAE Program helps pay for medications for low income seniors. You will need to show your RIPAE card which shows that you meet the income guidelines for this program. Your card must be marked as 8018 eligible in order to qualify.


The law provides for daily entrance only, with no provision for issuing season passes under this program. It means eligible seniors can enjoy free access each day they choose to visit, but they must confirm their eligibility each time.

About Rhode Island State Parks

Rhode Island, fondly known as the Ocean State, is home to a diverse array of state parks that offer a unique blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and cultural history. These parks, spread across the state, provide a window into Rhode Island’s rich environmental and historical tapestry.

There are many beaches in Rhode Island, including:

  • Governor’s Bay Day
  • Charlestown Breachway
  • East Beach
  • East Matunuck State Beach
  • Misquamicut State Beach
  • Roger W. Wheeler State Beach
  • Salty Brine State Beach
  • Scarborough North State Beach
  • Scarborough South State Beach

There are also a diverse amount of state parks, including:

  • Beavertail State Park
  • Brenton Point State Park
  • Burlingame State Park
  • Colt State Park
  • Fort Adams State Park
  • Eisenhower House at Fort Adams State Park
  • Fort Wetherill State Park
  • Goddard Memorial State Park
  • Goddard Memorial State Golf Course
  • Haines Memorial State Park
  • Lincoln Woods State Park
  • Pulaski State Park
  • Rocky Point State Park

Other state land includes:

  • Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Beach Pond
  • Blackstone Bikeway & Visitor’s Center
  • East Bay Bike Path
  • John H. Chafee Nature Preserve
  • Snake Den/Dame Farm

Each park and beach has its distinct charm, whether you’re looking for historic sites, scenic views, or recreational activities like hiking, swimming, and camping. Rhode Island’s state parks and beaches are not just places of natural beauty but also hubs for cultural and community events, making them perfect destinations for both relaxation and adventure​​​​​​.

Relief Recap

There are many ways to save money on your next Rhode Island State Parks trip! From the RI beach pass for disabled people to the exclusive senior discount program, you could enjoy free parking on your next trip if you bring the right paperwork! Review the options in this article and choose the one that’s right for you.

Priscilla Stuart

Tuesday 28th of February 2023

Hi, do i apply hear on line or show them at the gate the fay i am going in?

Catherine Marucci

Saturday 4th of March 2023

Hi Priscilla. Here's their current application: