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Long Island permits for summer camping, fishing, off-roading

Residents need a permit for surf fishing in

Residents need a permit for surf fishing in selected parklands such as here, on the east side the Shinnecock Inlet, at Shinnecock East County Park. Parks could be county, town, state and federal. Credit: Tom Schlichter

Fishing, off-roading, remote camping — now’s the time to start planning warm weather fun. But wait, you’ll probably need a permit to get to the best places on Long Island. And for some activities — think fishing and clamming, you’ll likely need a license, too.

No doubt it’s a hassle to assemble all the necessary permits and license items — plus pay the fees — but having them all on hand to start the season can make the experience less frustrating. It also might prompt you to get out more often — after all, you paid or at least cut through some red tape to get it.

The whole process “has gotten easier in recent years because many of them are available online or by phone now,” says Mark Malenovsky of Hooks and Brooks Guide Service in Sayville.

One permit Malenovsky highly recommends is the New York State Empire Passport. “With that card, you don’t have to pay access or parking fees at any state park in New York,” he says. “As an angler, I might fish Jones Beach in the morning and Robert Moses State Park in the afternoon. Without that pass, I’d have to pay for parking at both locations.”

Here’s a listing of popular outdoor permits and licenses. Some require proof of residency, auto registration or photo ID. Check requirements online or by phone for licenses and permits that must be picked up in person.


State-issued Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fishing and hunting permits are available at most town clerk offices, select bait and tackle shops, via 866-933-2257 or online at Some permits, such as the Managed Land Access Permit, are available only online.

Marine Recreational Fishing Registry

Saltwater anglers age 16 and older need to sign up for the New York State Marine Recreational Fishing Registry — it’s free.

NYS Freshwater Fishing License

This entitles you to fish in any legally accessible state freshwater environment. FEE $25 ($5 age 70 and older)

Managed Land Access Permit

A seasonal access permit (valid for three years) is required for all activities on most New York State public lands managed by the DEC, such as the Rocky Point and Otis Pike preserves. An additional permit ($20, details at is needed to camp overnight in Fire Island’s Otis Pike wilderness area.


A variety of permits can be obtained at Long Island State Park Headquarters at 625 Belmont Ave., West Babylon, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays (631-321-3515). Some permits also are available at park offices including Jones Beach, Sunken Meadow and Robert Moses.

Act now if you want to get a permit for four-wheel-drive beach vehicle access to fishing or surfing, night fishing or stargazing — these permits are issued only until March 31 and not again until after Labor Day.

For permits related to fishing, you’ll need proof you have already signed up with the Marine Recreational Fishing Registry above. A photocopy or cellphone photo of the registry will do.

New York State Empire Pass

The wallet-size Empire Pass provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most public facilities operated by the state, including forests, beaches, trails and more. It is not assigned to a specific vehicle and can be shared by parents, grandparents and caregivers.

FEE $65 by March 31 ($80 as of April 1) INFO 518-474-0458,

Four-wheel-drive beach vehicle fishing and surfing

The beach vehicle fishing permit grants four-wheel-drive access to fish at select areas at Montauk Point, among other parks. It also comes with night fishing perks at Jones Beach and other locations. FEE $80

The beach vehicle surfing permit lets you drive your four-wheeler closer to the shore to surf (daylight only) in designated areas of parks including Hither Hills and Robert Moses. FEE $80

Night fishing

Allows anglers entry after sunset for fishing at select areas within Captree, Hither Hills, Jones Beach, Montauk Point, Robert Moses, Sunken Meadow and Wildwood state parks. FEE $35


Allows sunset parking for stargazing only at Hither Hills, Jones Beach, Montauk Point, Robert Moses, Sunken Meadow and Wildwood state parks. FEE $35

Regional diving

Allows access to designated beach areas for diving at Caumsett, Jones Beach, Orient Beach and Robert Moses state parks. FEE $80 (good for three years, diver certification card required)


Nassau County — Leisure Pass

Required for entry into many county recreational facilities, the pass provides discounts to pools, golf courses, tennis courts, beaches, marinas and cabanas. For ages 13 and older, and those using county-operated golf courses, regardless of age. Must be purchased in person. FEE $30 (good for three years)

INFO 516-572-0200,

Suffolk County — Green Key Card

Allows residents access to county parks and reduced fees for park activities. You’ll need a Green Key card to access the online reservation system for golf, camping and marinas. Must be purchased in person. FEE $30 (good for three years)

INFO 631-854-4949,

An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed parks that allow beach vehicle access for fishing.

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