surf fishing vehicles on the beach

Surf Fishing

Pilot Program Changes: 2023 Delaware Surf Fishing Permits

Make a Beach Access Reservation

The following are the 2023 pilot program changes for Delaware surf fishing permits:

No Sales Cap for Surf Fishing Permits

  • There will no longer be an annual surf fishing permit sales cap of 17,000 and you can buy your 2023 Annual, Two-Year Surf and Off-Peak Surf Fishing Permit anytime during the year at Passes, Tags, and Fees.

Required Viewing of Surf Fishing Video

  • All surf fishing permit holders will be required to view an instructional surf fishing video prior to driving onto Delaware State Park surf fishing beaches.

Reservation System for Drive-on Surf Fishing Beach Access During Peak Time Periods

  • A reservation system is being implemented to create a fair and straightforward way to manage capacity on our natural resources. During peak weekends and holidays, reservations will be required at all Delaware drive-on multi-use state park beaches.
  • The reservation system manages the number of vehicles on each Delaware State Park multi-use drive-on beach during peak time periods, specifically on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays starting May 20 through Labor Day weekend, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for annual and two-year surf fishing permit holders. This is a total of 36 days.
  • Annual and two-year surf fishing permit holders, including resident, senior resident, senior non-resident, non-resident and Delaware firefighter/EMT permit holders, must make a reservation for drive on access to the beach from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during peak periods. The reservation fee is $4 per booking. During peak periods, surf permits are not valid without a reservation. Reservations are not required before 8 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
  • Off-peak permit holders are not permitted on weekends and holidays beginning May 20 through Sept 4. Reservation not valid for off-peak permits.
  • To place a reservation, the surf permit number, make and model of the vehicle, and license plate number will be required.
  • For Annual and Two-Year Surf Fishing Permits, peak-season reservations will be available online via desktop and mobile 24 hours a day once the reservation window opens. During peak-season, a reservation can also be made by calling 1-800-499-8221 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to noon on weekends and holidays. Reservations cannot be made in person at state parks or at the DNREC Central Office in Dover.
  • Reservations will open weekly for the upcoming weekend only. Reservations will be first-come, first-served.

Reservation window will be as follows for peak periods:

Drive-on day: Reservations Open On: Notes:
Saturday Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Sunday Wednesday at 11 a.m. Remaining Saturday reservations available.
(i.e. – Mon, June 19; Tue, July 4, etc.)
Thursday at 11 a.m. Remaining Saturday & Sunday reservations available.

NOTE: Advanced reservations cannot be made beyond the upcoming weekend.

The reservation system will open for reservations beginning Tuesday, May 16 for reservations starting on May 20 and continue through peak season ending on Labor Day.


Drive-on surf fishing beach access pilot program resources have been created for your reference: