Governor's Bay Day

An annual celebration that invites everyone to get outside and enjoy Rhode Island's beautiful coastline and Narragansett Bay.

Governor's Bay Day
Sand Castle

Governor's Bay Day 2021

Summer is a magical time in Rhode Island.  Our beautiful waters and abundant fisheries, sandy beaches, and historic parks are a big reason why. Celebrated in Rhode Island since 1989, the first Governor's Bay Day was held in the wake of the World Prodigy oil spill. It began as an effort to showcase the beauty and value of Narragansett Bay and to highlight the ongoing threats it faces. Today, Bay Day continues to honor this original intent.

This year marks the 32nd Bay Day celebration, and will be held on Sunday, July 25, 2021. New this year, the public is invited to fish in Rhode Island saltwaters without a saltwater fishing license from Friday, July 23, through Sunday, July 25.

"There's nothing like summer in Rhode Island and I think we're all ready to enjoy our beautiful waters, sandy beaches, and abundant fisheries. This Bay Day, I invite Rhode Islanders to head to the beach, drop a fishing line in Narragansett Bay, and experience all of the natural resources the Ocean State has to offer." - Governor Dan McKee

Traditionally held the last Sunday in July, Governor's Bay Day includes family-friendly activities and free parking at all Rhode Island state beaches. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) also will waive the roundtrip fare on all service to South County beaches on Route 66 (URI/Galilee). Service to the beach will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The free activities planned at Roger Wheeler State Beach have been cancelled due to the forecast.

"Ensuring the public can enjoy beaches, parks, and access to saltwater fishing is a public trust that the Department of Environmental Management works to fulfill every day by providing countless families with opportunities to enjoy being outside. Bay Day is the perfect day to celebrate being a Rhode Islander." - DEM Acting Director Terry Gray

Parking will be free at all state beaches, which are:

Governor's Bay Day encourages families to enjoy Rhode Island's outdoor public spaces and engage in an active lifestyle while also highlighting the economic value of our natural resources. Rhode Island's natural and public assets – including eight saltwater beaches, 8,200 acres of parkland, 1,000 campsites, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 200 fishing spots, and 25 parks and nature preserves – are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They're also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year.

Saltwater fishing also is an important driver for the state's economy. Rhode Island's marine recreational fishing industry contributes $420 million to the economy and supports over 4,000 jobs. Although the free fishing days provide an opportunity for everyone to fish without a license, they also serve as a reminder that saltwater licenses are required on every day except on Bay Day, and that the license program provides vital support for Rhode Island's recreational fishing interests. The cost of a yearly RI license is $7 for Rhode Island residents, and $10 for non-residents.