Delaware Beaches State Park Drive On Passes Information – Updated 2023
As many of you may already know, Delaware has removed the cap on drive-on permits being issued in 2023 after the fiasco we all experienced in 2021 and 2022. Last year, the website servers crashed the day the driving tags went on sale. Many couldn’t purchase the tags because of this – it was a nightmare! Instead of opening the tags up for sale to locals and Delawareans first, Delaware has completely removed the limit but will enforce a few new rules.
- You’ll now need to reserve your spot ahead of time from your desktop or phone, or the Division of Parks and Recreation’s call center. Call here: (302) 739-9220)
- However – Reservations can’t be made in person or the central office in Dover – so don’t even try!
- Reservations have to be printed and displayed somewhere visible in or around your vehicle.
- Expect there to be a run on printers in Sussex County! Jokes aside, that’s the most inconvenient part of this whole situation.
- You’ll only need to reserve a spot on the weekends and holidays starting Labor Day, until Memorial Day.
- Lastly, reservations are $4 a day and active from 8am to 4pm
There are a host of other rules that we won’t get into since we’re not surf fishing lawyers, but that’s the main meat and potatoes.
General Delaware State Park Drive-On Fishing Information Below
About the Drive On Permits
• Surf fishing vehicle permits are issued for the
calendar year. They allow vehicles to access
designated beaches at Cape Henlopen, Delaware
Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks and Beach
Plum Island Nature Preserve for the sole purpose of
• A surf fishing permit is valid only for two-axle
vehicles that are licensed and registered to
operate on public highways.
• The surf fishing vehicle plate and current sticker
must be properly displayed on the vehicle for
which the permit was issued and shall be affixed
prior to operation on the beach.
• Operating a vehicle without a current surf fishing
vehicle permit and plate on state park beach areas
or dune crossings is prohibited.
• Driving on swimming and surfboarding beaches
during summer season day-use hours is not
permitted. The permit does not give the right to
access other state or private beaches not owned
or administered by the Division of Parks and
• The owner’s copy of the permit receipt shall be
available for inspection at all times when the
vehicle is being operated on beach areas.
• Loaning a surf fishing vehicle permit or plate, or
using or attempting to use a surf fishing vehicle
permit or plate on any vehicle other than the one it
was assigned to is prohibited. In addition to other
actions that may be taken, the permit and plate will
be confiscated and held as evidence.
Driving on State Park Beaches
• Vehicle use on the designated beaches is restricted to
persons actively engaged in surf fishing. Operation
of a permitted surf fishing vehicle on the beaches
administered by the Division for reasons other than
traveling to and from fishing areas for the express
purpose of surf fishing is prohibited.
• “Actively engaged in surf fishing” means a person
is taking all reasonable and necessary actions to
maximize the probability of hooking and landing
game fish by rod, reel and line attached to a baited
rig, artificial lure or artificial fly. Persons are also
actively engaged in surf fishing when they are
within 50 feet of their fishing equipment and
are tending, casting and recasting their fishing
• Any permitted surf fishing vehicle parked for any
period of time on state park beaches without one
or more persons who arrived in that vehicle being
actively engaged in surf fishing is prohibited.
• The use or operation of any vehicle whatsoever on,
over, or across state park sand dunes is expressly
prohibited, except when displaying a valid Delaware
surf fishing vehicle permit and crossing dunes at
authorized dune crossings, which are designated and
maintained for that purpose.
• No vehicle shall be driven through, over or upon any
beach area that has been posted as an endangered
and/or protected species bird nesting area.
Surf Fishing Safety
Surf fishing vehicles must be equipped with a shovel,
jack, tow rope or chain, board or similar support for
the jack, and a low pressure tire gauge when being
operated on state park beaches.
• Operating any vehicle on any authorized dune
crossing or on any beach area at any speed that is
greater than is reasonable and prudent under the
conditions is prohibited. Vehicles must be operated
with regard to existing and potential hazards, but
never exceeding 15 m.p.h. In every event, speed shall
be controlled and limited to that speed necessary to
maintain traction and steerage.
• The Division of Parks and Recreation shall have the
right to suspend surf fishing vehicle permits for up
to 90 days or to revoke permits for up to three years
for conviction of reckless operation of a surf fishing
vehicle, for operation of a surf fishing vehicle under
the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or drugs, or
for violations of these regulations.
Violations and Surf Fishing Fines
Violation of the rules and regulations may result in
a fine of $50 to $250 for a first offense and $100 to
$500 for a second offense. Violators will be cited and
permits may be revoked if state park regulations are
Other Drive On Information
• The use of mechanically-propelled bait or line
casters is prohibited on all surf fishing beaches.
• The surf fishing vehicle permit serves as the permitholder of record’s fishing license when fishing in
designated Delaware State Park surf fishing areas, as
long as all rules and regulations are followed. Other
anglers must have valid fishing licenses issued by the
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. In addition,
a Fishermen’s Information Network (FIN) number
is required to fish in Delaware waters. FINs are
available at delaware-fin.com/registerfin.asp or by
• Dogs are allowed in all surf fishing vehicle areas, but
must be under control and on a leash not to exceed
six feet in length.
• In addition to giving access to designated beach
areas, the surf fishing permit also allows free entry to
day areas in most Delaware State Parks.
• The Carry-In, Carry-Out program is in effect in
all surf fishing areas. Carry out trash you carry in,
and dispose of nylon fishing line properly. Loose,
discarded line entangles wildlife and beach cleaning
• Surf fishing areas are subject to closure at any time in
the event of weather conditions (high tides, coastal
storms, etc.). Surf fishing vehicle areas may be limited
or closed when such action is deemed necessary for
property management, protection of flora, fauna and
their habitats, or when it is in the best interest of the
health, safety, and general welfare of visitors.
• In order to protect fragile plants and grasses that
stabilize the dunes, and to leave nesting or fledging
shorebirds undisturbed, people, pets and vehicles are
not allowed on the dunes or in bird nesting areas.
Only designated crossings may be used to cross the
dunes. Violations are subject to fines.
• Designated surf fishing beaches are open for other
recreational activities. Caution must be exercised
when sharing the beach.
• The beach ecosystem is very important and must be
protected. Any damage done to the dunes should be
reported to the nearest park employee.
Dunes are a fragile resource that provide important
habitat for a host of plants and animals and protect the
coastline during severe storms. While dunes and the
plants and animals found there usually survive storms,
they are easily damaged by the harmful impact of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The dunes are protected
by law, and access across is strictly limited to designated crossings. Use of the beach is strictly limited to the
seaward toe of the dune down to the high tide line.
Bird Nesting Areas
When nesting is identified along beaches, areas
may be closed to all traffic, including vehicles,
pedestrians and pets.
Official state park regulations are located at
Permit regulations are strictly enforced.
Passes, Tags, and Fees
The First State features a surprising variety of natural areas. Treat yourself to a day at a state park and enjoy beautiful ocean beaches, inland ponds, forests, rolling hills, or piedmont streams. While you are having fun, you are also helping to preserve the best of Delaware’s natural heritage. The fees you pay stay within the parks to play an important role in protecting open space and wildlife, support recreational activities and nature education, and provide visitor assistance and safety.
Passes and Tags
Park Access and Refunds
The purchase of a park entry pass or surf fishing permit does not guarantee access to Delaware State Parks property, programs or functions when the number of visitors is restricted due to a high volume of visitors at peak times, or other instances of restrictions to include, but not limited to: government restriction, state of emergency, strike, flood, fire, or unforeseen catastrophe. Purchases can be returned within 30 days of sale if the pass or permit has not been opened.
Daily Park Entry Fees
This information was sourced in January 2022 from The Delaware State Parks links: