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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Reservations Now Being Accepted For State Campgrounds

Main Camp at Burlingame Restricted to Tents-only

To protect public health and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has made several operational changes at Burlingame State Campground in Charlestown for the 2021 season. 

DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation recognizes the value of spending time in nature and is committed to ensuring visitors enjoy safe and memorable experiences at state campgrounds.

Going forward, the main camp at Burlingame, which tends to become crowded and congested, will be restricted to tent-only campsites for those making new reservations. Individuals with current reservations will not be affected by this change in policy.

DEM will be re-opening 13 camping sites at Burlingame that were previously closed to campers due to the public health pandemic. DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation has evaluated these sites and determined that there is adequate space to allow for proper social distancing. 

As part of their review, the Department has determined that two campsites need to be closed in order to allow for adequate space between camping sites.

Also, three cabins along the waterfront of Watchaug Pond have been relocated to ensure that all campers have convenient access to the shoreline in this part of the campground. Swimming is prohibited in this portion of Watchaug Pond. The beach will serve as a kayak and canoe launch, fishing area, and a sandy spot to relax near the water. 

Pets may enter the water from this shoreline but must remain on a leash as required in the Campground's pet policy. A few parking spots will be added in this area for the convenience of campers.

The rules on campground visitors and vehicle passes that were implemented previously in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency will remain in place this season. These policies are designed to better manage the number of vehicles and people in RI state campgrounds to ensure the enjoyment and safety of campground patrons. 

These policies are as follows: 

• In order to control crowds while we continue to manage this pandemic, we will continue to prohibit visitors at our campgrounds. If and when we are able to allow visitors, we will be limiting visitor passes. Each campsite can have no more than two visitor car passes at a time. These passes are non-transferable and will need to be surrendered in order to allow additional passes to be issued. 

• Vehicles passes will be limited to two passes per site. One vehicle pass is included with your reservation which will be used for a single vehicle, a drivable camper or a vehicle towing a camper. A second vehicle pass may be purchased a campsite. These passes are non-transferable and are required to be surrendered in order to allow additional passes to be issued.

DEM reminds campers of the current refund policy for the 2021 season. For cancellations, refunds will be issued as follows: 

• Eight days or more before arrival date – full refund less non-refundable reservation fee and an $8.75 cancellation fee 

• Two to seven days before arrival date – camper will be charged for one night along with the non-refundable reservation fee and an $8.75 cancellation fee • Less than two (2) days before arrival date – no refund

Campers may cancel their reservation online by logging into their Reserve America account or by contacting the Reserve America Call Center during their operating hours. Refunds will not be issued for weather, site conditions, no-shows, cancellations or early departures on or after the arrival date.

Beginning April 9th, the following State Campgrounds will be open daily: 

• Burlingame State Campground, Charlestown 

• Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown 

• Fishermen's Memorial Campground, Narragansett 

• George Washington Memorial Campground, Gloucester

The campground at East Beach in Charlestown will remain closed this year. East Beach has only 20 campsites that are mostly reserved by non-residents. The Reopening RI guidance would have decreased the number of campsites to 10. 

DEM made the decision that staffing and monitoring just 10 campsites 24/7 does not make financial or practical sense. DEM will be working with the RI Department of Health in order to assess any potential for opening this campground in the 2021 season.

DEM advises everyone to follow current guidance about COVID-19 from the Rhode Island Department of Health. More information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island's response can be found here:

For outdoor recreation updates, visit

For information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

Related links

RI State Campground Reservations

Outdoor Recreation Updates

RI State Campground Policies