The township of Toms River is located on the Jersey Shore in Ocean County, New Jersey. Including the communities of Beachwood, Island Heights, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach and South Toms River, the township is home to 97,000 people.
Its population increased dramatically following the completion of the Garden State Parkway, with influxes of new residents resulting in the community bursting at its seams before 1980. This growth led to the creation of new neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, while the downtown area continued to retain its historic charm and character.
Many Toms River locals consider the downtown district to be the heart of the community, drawing visitors from all over Ocean County to dine, shop and enjoy live entertainment at the Traco Theater. It is also the site of several festivals throughout the year, including Halloween and the Food Truck Festival.
The downtown area is thriving with businesses that include restaurants, retail shops and specialty stores. Its business center is anchored by the Toms River Mall, which contains more than 200 retail and office spaces and features major chains like Ann Taylor, Bath & Body Works, Lush Cosmetics and Ross. It also includes the Seaside Cinemas, a movie theatre with 18 screens and VIP viewing.
Residents looking for a place to work have plenty of employment options to choose from, including top employers like Heyco Products and First Bank across industries like healthcare, finance and manufacturing. The township is also home to a robust learning community, with institutions like Ocean County College and the Ocean County Library offering numerous educational programs for adults and children. RWJBarnabas Health Arena is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts professional sports events, concerts and trade shows.
There are plenty of dining options in the city, from the popular seafood grills and bars to chain and locally owned restaurants. Sample dishes like the Cheddar Omelette or Disco Egg Bowl at Shut Up and Eat, or try Caribbean Swordfish, Surf & Turf or Enchiladas Verdes at Four Seasons Diner. You can also find a wide variety of Mexican and Latin American fare at El Familiar or Xina, or savor Italian favorites like Fettuccine Filetto di Pomodoro at Ristorante Italiano.
With access to so many parks and nature areas, Toms River residents have plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Explore Cattus Island County Park to take a stroll along the boardwalk or go for a jog on the nature trail, or visit Huddy Park in downtown Toms River for waterfront views and events like the annual Clamfest. The area also has plenty of green space, with wetlands, oak forests and cranberry bogs found in the Toms River subwatershed. The waterway eventually flows into Barnegat Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. This area is also known for its pristine beaches, which are the main reason why many Toms River residents flock to the area during summer.