Reopening restrictions set for state park beaches

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has set rules for the reopening of state park beaches.

Delaware beaches have been closed or limited to exercise and dog walking for almost two months due to COVID-19. They'll open to the public at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, with some exceptions

The department has authority over state parks and will be limiting activities at state park beaches. At least six-feet of distance between members of different households will be required. Groups of visitors from the same household may be no larger than 10.

Masks or face coverings are encouraged to be worn on beaches, however, all visitors must bring face coverings, such as masks or bandanas, when entering state parks. Within state parks, face coverings must be worn in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in bathhouses, park offices, concession buildings, boat docks and trails and paths when others are present. 

Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will have capacity limits of between 50 and 70% of parking spaces. Capacity limits will be enforced at entrances and with closure of parking spaces.

Beach-area bathrooms and bathhouses will open May 22. Most bathrooms in other state parks around the state will also open, but some will remain closed due to distancing/cleaning considerations. Cleaning services will be increased to multiple times per day at all open bathrooms and bathhouses.

For surf fishing, the emergency limit on number of persons per vehicle will be lifted and only one person will need to be actively fishing. Twenty-foot distancing between vehicles will remain required and drive-on beaches may be closed to additional vehicles when capacity is reached.

Camping and pavilion reservations at all state parks have been canceled through May 31. Full refunds will be issued and no further action is required by the customer. Should the governor’s state of emergency closure of camping be extended beyond June 1, further cancellations will occur at that time.

State park offices will open May 21. Visitors are encouraged to purchase annual passes to avoid anticipated delays for daily entrance payments. Annual passes are available online at and will be available at park offices.

For those without passes, daily park entrance fees will only be collected via automated credit card machines or self-registration envelopes at park entrances.