MADISON, CT (WFSB) -- Crowds are expected at state parks and beaches this holiday weekend.

On Friday around noon, the parking capacity was already reached at Hammonasset Beach State Park and Rocky Neck State Park.

Leaders say with the large crowds, people should still be safe and practice social distancing.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice that Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officers offered is to leave 15 feet between where your families beach blanket is set up and the next closest group.

DEEP said the best way to avoid crowds though is to visit a less popular state park, ideally one that is close to where you live.

People should keep in mind that they won’t be allowed to swim in any bodies of water at inland state parks because DEEP officers fear folks may not be able to easily socially distance in ponds and streams. However, people can swim in the sound, but be careful as their won’t be any lifeguards on duty.

Also, check online to make sure the park you want to visit is open before you get in the car because parking will be limited this weekend, and once DEEP shuts down a park, it will remain closed until the next day.

Gov. Ned Lamont said despite the challenges, he wanted to keep state parks open during the pandemic so that people could escape their home for a while and enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

“You can’t be just cooped up inside all day for your mental health and well-being. It’s important that you be able to go out and take a walk in the great outdoors, especially at this time of the year,” Lamont said.

Another tip is to bring a mask when visiting a state park this weekend. You don’t have to wear it all day if you can safely socially distance, but it will protect you if people get a little too close for comfort.

For more on what DEEP is reminding people of before heading out to any state parks or beaches, click here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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