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.

Get 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.

Find A Location:

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.
 

Approved Vendor List:

The following businesses have been approved to provide services for private events within State Park locations that have advance approval for their event. These lists are provided for information only and inclusion does not constitute endorsement by DEM Division of Park.

 

Please note: 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.

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

Picnic sites, covered shelters, and recreational fields 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.

Reservable Picnic Sites

  • Burlingame State Park Picnic Area Route 1, Charlestown 401-322-8910 1 picnic pavilion with 6 tables.
  • Colt State Park Route 114, Bristol 401-253-7482 51 multi-table picnic sites, 3 covered shelters, 1 ceremonial chapel area Note: the location of some sites at Colt have changed as of 2020; patrons are advised to check the desired location in person before making a reservation.
  • Goddard Memorial State Park 1095 Ives Road, Warwick 401-884-2010 156 single picnic sites, 4 covered shelters, 11 game fields.
  • Lincoln Woods State Park 2 Manchester Print Works Road, Lincoln 401-723-7892 92 single picnic sites, 3 covered shelters.
  • Pulaski State Park & Recreation Area 151 Pulaski Road, Chepachet Reserve online at https://rhodeislandstateparks.reserveamerica.com/; 2 covered shelters.

Advance payment for reservations is required within 10 business days; upon the receipt of payment (cash, check, or money order accepted), a permit for the site will be issued. Reservations not paid within 10 business days will be cancelled. Permit fees are non-refundable. The cost for single picnic sites with one table and one fireplace is $5/day; covered shelters differ from park to park and range from $75/day to $100/day depending on the number of picnic tables and fireplaces included with the shelter. Rental costs for recreational fields vary depending on the size and location of the field.

NOTE: In addition to the areas that can be reserved, there are many sites that are available to park-goers on a first-come, first-served basis and do not have to be rented. Please email DEM.RIparks@dem.ri.gov for questions on these locations or contact the regional park office directly.


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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