The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that 2023 Delaware State Parks annual passes and surf fishing permits will go on sale starting at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Annual passes and surf fishing permits may be purchased at any state park office Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Passes and permits may also be purchased online at www.destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees, with an estimated timeframe for delivery of three to four weeks. State park offices also will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, to accommodate holiday shoppers who want to include an annual parks pass or surf fishing permit in their gift-giving. Annual passes and surf fishing permits will not be sold at DNREC’s Dover campus.
The surf fishing permit sales cap implemented in 2019 has been removed as part of recently-announced surf fishing program changes to be piloted by DNREC for 2023, eliminating any need for rushing to purchase permits. With no cap to contend with, surf fishing permits for 2023 can be purchased anytime after sales start on November 29.
Annual Park Passes
Annual passes are a convenient way to access Delaware’s state parks throughout the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30. The annual pass costs $35 for Delaware residents and $70 for non-residents. Those 62 and older receive a discounted rate of $18 for residents and $35 for non-residents. A $65-lifetime pass is available for Delawareans 65 and older, the Delaware Military Pass is available for $17.50, and an Assistance Program Pass is available for $10.
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.
Delaware firefighters and emergency medical technicians can free obtain an annual pass or surf fishing permit. Those who qualify must obtain an application from their fire company or the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. The completed form must be taken to a state park office to receive the pass or permit.
Surf Fishing Permits
The surf fishing permits available to anglers remain the same for the year ahead as DNREC pilots changes to the surf fishing permitting program. Sales are for an annual permit and a two-year permit, both of which enable year-round drive-on access, including peak weekends and holidays. Also available again for 2023 is the off-peak surf fishing permit that offers year-round drive-on access while excluding peak weekends and holidays from May 20 through the Labor Day weekend.
Surf fishing permit rates remains unchanged for 2023. Delaware residents' surf fishing permit fee is $90 and $180 for out-of-state residents. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $80. The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. For off-peak permits, Delaware residents 62 and older will get a discounted rate of $60.
First-time permit holders must also obtain a Delaware surf fishing license plate on which they must affix their surf fishing permit decal. In addition to entry onto Delaware State Parks’ drive-on beaches, the permit decal doubles as an annual park pass.
New Surf Fishing Permit Reservation system
The cap on the number of surf fishing permits sold each year by DNREC is to be replaced with a technology-based reservation system for managing capacity on the 36 days that comprise peak weekends and holidays when the state’s surf fishing beaches are in highest demand. Reservations are not available nor required for off-peak permits.
For more information about the 2023 pilot changes to the surf fishing program, including answers to frequently asked questions, go to destateparks.com/SurfTagSales.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.