(Dover Jan 20, 2022) … The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that the sale of 2022 Delaware State Parks surf fishing permits will begin Tuesday, Feb. 1 and the sale of annual passes will begin Tuesday, Feb. 15. Sales will begin at 10 a.m. both days. The sale of 2022 surf fishing permits and annual passes was delayed due to nationwide supply chain disruptions.
How to Purchase
- Online: Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and demand for surf fishing permits and annual passes, the quickest and safest way to purchase permits and passes is online at www.destateparks.com. Sales will start online 10 a.m. Feb. 1 for surf fishing permits and Feb. 15 for annual park passes.
- At state parks: Permits and passes will be on sale at offices within Delaware State Parks starting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 1 for surf fishing permits and Feb. 15 for annual park passes. Those who choose to purchase annual passes or surf fishing permits at a park office should expect long wait times and must wear a mask inside the building. Park office locations are listed at www.destateparks.com/FindPark. (Please note: Permits and passes are not available at DNREC’s Dover office.)
Annual passes are a convenient way to access the parks for the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30. A Delaware resident annual pass costs $35, and Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $18. A $65 lifetime pass is available for Delawareans 65 and older. Reduced rates are also offered to Delawareans who receive public assistance, or who are active duty military or veterans. Active duty military personnel with an out-of-state license plate can purchase an annual pass at the in-state rate.
Surf Fishing Permits
The purchase of a surf fishing permit allows individuals to drive onto designated beaches for surf fishing. First-time permit holders must also obtain a surf fishing plate on which to affix their surf fishing permit decal. In addition to entry onto Delaware State Parks drive-on beaches, the decal enables the vehicle to gain entrance into the other state parks without paying the daily entrance fee.
Surf fishing permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are capped at 17,000 annually to manage a limited resource, protect against overcrowding of parks beaches, and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Delaware’s award-winning state parks system. The surf fishing permit fee for Delaware residents is $90 or $180 for out-of-state residents. Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $80.
In 2021, 77% of surf fishing permits were held by Delaware residents and 23% were held by residents of other states.
The off-peak surf fishing permit, which was piloted in 2021, will return for 2022. There is no cap in place for the off-peak surf fishing permit.
Off-peak surf fishing permits may be used seven days a week during the off season, which runs from Feb. 1 to May 29 and again from Sept. 6 through Dec. 31. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, off-peak permits may only be used Mondays through Fridays; Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day are excluded. The off-peak permit also allows entry into all Delaware State Parks without paying the daily entrance fee.
The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $60.
Passes/Permits for Delaware Firefighters, EMTs
Delaware firefighters and emergency medical technicians can obtain an annual pass or surf fishing permit for free. Those who qualify must first obtain an application form from the president of their fire company or the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association and then visit a park office to receive the pass or permit.
Delaware’s state parks are primarily self-funded, with 65% of revenue to operate and maintain the parks generated by park users. This revenue is used for trail maintenance, environmental and recreational programs, visitor amenities, guarded beaches, management of campgrounds, cabins and more.