Toms River

Jesse Fried • Jul 22, 2019

Ocean County is NJ's fastest-growing county, the current frontier of the expanding metropolis. Much of the development here could be described as "sprawl" so it was with pleasant surprise that we found Toms River to have some nice old neighborhoods and a nice downtown.

On a summer Saturday, people were sitting in lawn chairs in a park listening to a live crooner-style concert with what seemed to be a live big band. We went into an Italian restaurant, where there Sinatra played through the speakers. It was a genuinely family-owned restaurant with really good food, excellent service and "that vibe."

Route 37 is an especially dinky version of the classic NJ shopping highway. It has a few intriguing looking seafood places along it.

Toms River is sometimes considered to be the border between Central and South Jersey. It used to be defined as the last town before inland South Jersey started to get rural. Now suburban development has reached its way south into Berkeley Township and Lacey Township, so it's a little less clear. People actually commute from here to NYC, which seems crazy, but it's a nice area and may be worth it for the chance to raise one's family here.