Rhode Island State Parks

Planning an event?

Find the perfect space for your next event in a Rhode Island state park, beach, or campground!

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Special Event Policy & Process

We want you to have the best time possible at your triathlon, fishing tournament, wedding, family reunion, photography workshop, group fitness class, corporate function, or any other type of large gathering or commercial event. From open air pavilions and picnic shelters to wedding venues and historic facilities, we can help you find a location just right for your gathering.

Special Use Permits are required for these types of events and activities so that State Parks staff can best serve your needs while balancing the needs of other park visitors and the capacity of each park and facility.

Need help getting started?

If are not sure what facility would be appropriate for your event or function or would like general information, please contact us at dem.riparks@dem.ri.gov.

Do you have a location in mind?

If you already have a specific park, beach, or campground in mind, we recommend you contact the regional office for that location to confirm if a Special Use Permit will be required, if your date is available, and that the event or function you would like to host is allowed on that property.

Submitting a request

Once you have determined a location and confirmed with the Regional Manager that the date is available and the use is appropriate, the Regional Manager will provide you with a link to our online permit system. If you have any trouble using the new system, email Cindy Elder.

Please keep in mind:

  • Plan ahead! Special Use Permit applications need to be submitted at least 30 days in advance and can require much more notice for larger activities that will have a significant impact on the park so please start early.
  • Submission of this application DOES NOT guarantee that your event will be permitted.
  • You may be required to obtain liability license insurance. We will not permit an event unless this insurance is received no later than two (2) weeks prior to your event. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Along with insurance, your event may be assessed costs for staff, police officers, site and facility fees, OR require a license agreement through the State Properties Committee.
  • Approval of events subject to approval by the State Properties Committee requires significant lead time. Please plan ahead and submit your request promptly. This process can take close to 90 days. Examples of events that require approval include those that involve the selling of goods or services on state property, events that have a significant impact on a park due to size or complexity of the event, events that have high risk activity such as fireworks/pyrotechnics, carnival rides, or involve construction or staging that requiring large scale equipment, and events that require coordination with multiple state and/or local agencies.
  • Applications must be received 30 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENT.

Please note: any proposed event must stay within social gathering limits and abide by any other restrictions associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency, and approval of your event is at the discretion of park management. Please call the State Park you are interested in for more information before submitting a Special Use Permit request. We will not be accepting any Special Use Permit applications until after January 1, 2021, for events taking place for the Spring/Summer season.

Examples of Previous Events

A small child proudly shows off his first freshwater fish catch

Let's Go Fishing Event Lincoln Woods State Park

A pack of collegiate cross country runners race through the bridle trails

College Cross Country Race Goddard Memorial State Park

Park visitors check out an educational display and giant shoe shaped vehicle set up by LL Bean

Outdoor Education Display Fort Adams State Park

Sailboats navigate around each other with the Goddard Memorial beach pavilion in the background

Sailboat Regatta Goddard Memorial State Park

Picnic Site Rentals

picnic site overlooking Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods State Park

Reservations for picnic areas, covered shelters, and recreational fields for the 2021 season will be accepted starting on Monday, January 4.

Picnic sites are a great home base for a small get together or family gathering. Designated picnic areas within state parks are available on a first-come, first-served basis or available by reservation. Please contact the regional park office directly if you would like to reserve a picnic site.

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Be A Part Of The Solution, Not The Pollution

I heart RI State Parks

Everyone who enjoys parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces has a responsibility to keep them clean. Consistent with this ethic, DEM continues to encourange visitors adhere to the carry-in/carry-out trash policy that has been in effect since 1992. Show your love for our natural spaces by doing your part to keep them clean. Carry out what you carry in!

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