Special Use Permits

A special park use is an activity in a National Park area that is conducted by or provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large. The National Park Service may permit a special park use, providing the activity will not cause derogation of the park's resources or values, visitor experiences, or the purposes for which the park was established.
Following is a list of some common activities (Special Uses) that require a permit:
All Special Events (including, but not limited to, weddings, beach parties, group bonfires and picnics, fishing tournaments, races, walkathons, trail rides), First Amendment Activities, Hunting and Oversand Vehicle Use. Visit our
Commercial Filming (some types) & Still Photography page for more information about obtaining permits for these activities.

Requests for special uses within the National Seashore must be made in writing, using the National Park Service Special Use Permit Application Form (also available at all visitor contact stations), accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $50.00. Applications are considered on a case by case basis. Requested uses should have a meaningful association with the Seashore’s mission and purposes and are evaluated for potential resource impacts, safety issues, disruption to park operations and normal public use, and in relation to current management policies and issues/concerns.
Please allow adequate time for processing application – a minimum of 10 business days for simple, routine permits is needed. Complex requests may require additional review time, on-site planning meetings, insurance, certifications/documentation, etc., prior to permit issuance.

If a request is approved, two original permits containing applicable conditions and regulations will be mailed to the person that is designated on the application. The permits must be signed by the applicant and returned to the park for signature prior to the event. One final permit will be mailed to the applicant. The permittee must have the final authorized permit with them in the park while exercising the privileges it allows.

Fees to recover costs associated with permitting special uses within the Seashore are required for most permits. The $50.00 non-refundable application fee recovers only basic processing costs. The permittee will be notified and billed if any additional costs are incurred by the Park. Performance bonds and liability insurance may be required depending on the nature of the activity.


Special Events - Maryland District only

A specific area at the North Beach in Maryland has been designated for most routine “special events” in the park (baptisms, weddings, & bonfires/beach parties). It is located on the ocean beach seaward of the barrier dune immediately north of the lifeguarded beach area. General rules for events in this area include, but are not limited to:

  • All participants must pay Park entrance fees.
  • Permit does not grant exclusive use of an area. Event or participants may not inhibit the rights and privileges of other park visitors.
  • More than one special event may be occurring in general permit area at a time.
  • No signs or banners may be erected or displayed within the National Seashore.
  • Parking will not be reserved for event participants.
  • Heavy visitor use and parking limitations during peak hours may disallow scheduling special uses/events (Peak Hours: 10 AM to 4PM - everyday in summer season, on holidays, and on Sat/Sun in shoulder seasons).
  • Fires may not be left unattended and beach fires must be entirely extinguished with water, not sand. Charred, unburned wood remnants are to be removed from beach when cool and disposed of in appropriate waste receptacle.
  • Permit holder is responsible to ensure that all participants comply with local, state and federal laws, including those governing alcohol possession and consumption and approaching, touching, or feeding horses and other wildlife.
  • The site may not be accessed by vehicles. All supplies and equipment must be hand carried to and from the site.
  • Shelters may be erected for shade or insect protection, but must be removed at sunset.
  • Sleeping overnight on the beach is not permitted.
  • Balloons and fireworks are prohibited in the park.
  • Unreasonable noise is prohibited. Generators and public address systems are not permitted in this area.
  • Conducting business in the park is prohibited, including but not limited to use of commercial caterers, rented tent/chair set-up, wedding planners, and collection of fees for the event
  • The site must be left in the same condition as it was prior to use and all refuse generated by the event removed from the park.
  • Requests to reschedule the permitted event must be in writing, and received at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled event day.

Commercial Filming & Still Photography

The National Park Service (NPS) policies allow filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of park resources, and when the activities assist in the NPS fulfilling its mission. Commercial filming and still photography activities may not harm natural, cultural, wilderness, or recreational resources and cannot conflict with the public's normal use and enjoyment of the park.

A permit is required for these activities. Visit our Commercial Filming and Still Photography page for the latest information.


First Ammendment Activities

Specific areas are designated throughout the park. Call 410-629-6046 for permit information.


Commercial Use Authorization

Commercial activities or operating a business of any kind in the park is prohibited without a Commercial Use Authorization. Applications are considered based on a number of criteria, including appropriateness/accomplishing mission of the park. The non-refundable application fee is $50.00. Call the Concessions Specialist at 410-629-6046 or email e-mail us for more information.

Last updated: February 24, 2024

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Mailing Address:

7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811


410 641-1441

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