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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in Southern New England.

Whether you’re hitting the road, hosting a barbecue or attending an event, this guide has everything you need to plan ahead.

Jump to a section: Travel Tips | Weather Forecast | Beach Information | Local Events

AAA’s forecast shows that despite rising inflation, travel continues to rebound from the pandemic. AAA expects roughly 42.3 million Americans will travel between Thursday and Monday, only a few hundred thousand fewer than in May 2019.

The majority of those travelers (37 million) will be doing so by car, according to AAA, while more than 3 million people are expected to fly and nearly 2 million will travel by train and other methods. AAA says it could be the busiest Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005.

Gas prices have come down slightly in recent weeks, averaging $3.40 per gallon in Rhode Island and $3.43 in Massachusetts. The national average is slightly higher at $3.54 per gallon.

Here are the best and worst times to travel by car, according to AAA:

Date Best Time Worst Time
Thursday, May 25 Before 1 p.m. 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, May 26 Before 12 p.m. 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 Minimal traffic expected Minimal traffic expected
Sunday, May 28 Minimal traffic expected Minimal traffic expected
Monday, May 29 Before 10 a.m. 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesday, May 30 Before 2 p.m., After 6 p.m. 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

While we’re still a few days out, the current forecast is looking favorable for the holiday weekend. After a mostly sunny and dry Friday and Saturday, clouds will start to move in on Sunday and could lead to a slight chance of a shower on Monday. Highs will be in the upper 60s to lower 70s.

Stay with 12 News throughout the week as our team of meteorologists refines their holiday forecast.

Jump to a section: Travel Tips | Weather Forecast | Beach Information | Local Events

Memorial Day is the start of beach season in Rhode Island, with most state beaches opening fully. The exception this year is Scarborough South which is slated to open daily starting Father’s Day weekend, but that could change due to seasonal staffing, according to the DEM.

Avid beachgoers can register for a season parking pass online, which can be used at all eight state beaches. The passes cost $30 for residents, $15 for senior residents, $60 for non-residents, and $30 for senior non-residents. Residency is based on the registration of the vehicle being used.

Ocean, Bay & Beach // A look at the conditions by the coast »

12 News is currently compiling a list of local Memorial Day activities, from ceremonies to honor our fallen service members to family-friendly festivities. Check back for more information!

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