9 Pros and Cons of Living in Toms River, NJ

Updated On October 9, 2023
Toms River, NJ

Toms River is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey.

You may be familiar with the town through shows like Jersey Shore, the 1998 Little League World Series Team, and Boardwalk Empire.

As of 2022, the township had 95,438 residents.

The median home price is $283,500 and the medium home income in the township is $79,193.

The average age of residents is 43 years old and the average family size is around three people per family.  

There’s a reason so many shows are featured in this township and there seem to be more reasons to live here than not!

In this article, we will explore all the great reasons why Toms River has been put on our map.

Toms River, NJ
Toms River, NJ

Pros of Living in Toms River, New Jersey

The factors that make this a great township to live in are considered to be somewhat subjective.

It depends on what you value and where you are in your career and personal life.

For example, young families may find that this holds more benefits for them, while young executives may thrive better in more metropolitan cities. 

1. Crime

Let’s start with one of the primary determining factors when considering a new city or town: its crime rate.

For this article, we will look at the first quarter, January to March of 2021.

During this period there were a total of 276.6 crimes reported per 100,000 residents and a total of 23 arrests made.

These crimes were made up as follows:

  • Rape (1)
  • Robbery (3)
  • Murder (0)
  • Assault (10)
  • Burglaries (20)
  • Larceny (230)
  • Auto theft (14)

While there is crime, and certain areas of the city seem to be more affected by it, it is still lower than both the national and state average.

For example, the violent crime rate sits at 1 per 1,000 residents while property crime is 4 per 1,000 residents.

Violent crime includes murder, rape, homicide, manslaughter, aggravated assault, and property crimes, which include theft, robbery, larceny, and burglary. 

2. Close to great beaches

The state of New Jersey features 130 miles of pristine coastline.

In fact, this state has some of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast!

One great thing about living in Toms River is that you are never too far from the beach!

There are a few great beaches that are within driving distance from this location.

Some are as close as seven miles or thirteen minutes drive away! 

There are at least ten great beaches located in close proximity to Toms River, including Ortley Beach, which features an amazing boardwalk with several rides and games.

This outing makes for a great evening out!

Other great beaches include Island Beach State Park, Silver Beach Bay Beach, and White Sands Beach, to mention a few!

Many of these beaches feature great amenities and entertainment for the whole family, as well as lifeguards, bathroom facilities, restaurants nearby, and other great activities such as kitesurfing, fishing, and building sand castles. 

3. Great Stores and Entertainment

The town is small enough to mean that you will be enjoying small-town living, but the community is large enough so that you have access to some great stores as well.

You’ll also have access to some great restaurants. If you’re a foodie and you enjoy this type of entertainment, then Toms River really does deliver. 

There are several eateries and major chain restaurants that feature cuisine from different corners of the world in this small town!

From Italian cuisine to Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean to Mexican food.

You’ll find a nice mix to choose from!

Some great places include:

In addition, the town features many of the big chain stores, such as Macy’s, Target, JC Penny, Forever 21, and many more!

You won’t have to drive far to find a great place to eat or shop!

And the best part is that you get to enjoy a small town living with big city amenities!

Ocean County is home to RWJ Barnabas Health Arena, which hosts many concerts, sporting events, and trade shows throughout the year. 

4. Education

There are a total of 18 schools in Toms River Regional School District as well as a total of 14,618 students.

Of these schools, there are three pre-schools, middle schools, high schools, and twelve elementary schools.

The town has a high school graduation rate of approximately 92%, which is excellent!

Math scores across the board are somewhat low and reading scores are average.

If good education is an important factor for you, then you may want to consider living here.

Overall, the school system is quite good and the test scores range between average and good depending on the subjects. 

The education and the school system have an overall average to fairly good rating.

This is a fairly good score compared to state and national averages.

The school district is making an effort to improve some factors of this rating.

The teacher-to-student ratio is 1 to 12, which isn’t too bad either.

One thing that makes the education system stand out about this school is the quality of the teachers.

This alone makes this a huge advantage.

Furthermore, thanks to the local community college Ocean County College, and Ocean County Library, there are many programs and educational programs to choose from which further promote continued education and learning among adults. 

5. Low poverty rate

Toms River has a 7.3% poverty rate.

This is lower than the state average and the national average.

The per capita income for the past 12 months was $40,520 and the median household income was $79,193.

Lower levels of poverty rate result in a multitude of benefits for a small town or city.

Firstly, more children have access to education, which means that the average literacy rate is higher and in turn results in an overall higher quality of life for citizens.

More students attend colleges.

There is more tax, which in turn results in better amenities and infrastructure.

This in turn improves the quality of life even more.

In addition, more tax dollars mean better policing, better healthcare, and other programs that help the less fortunate and those addicted to any kind of substance. 

In addition, Toms River is the county seat of Ocean County.

This means that this town is the economic hub of the area.

There are a lot of businesses and activities.

There are several major employers across various important industries that call this town home. 

6. Affordable housing

As previously mentioned, the housing prices in Toms River are lower than the state and national average.

When calculating the cost of living, this is usually the first indicator of whether an area such as a city or town is affordable to live in. 

This is because a mortgage or rental property will take the largest chunk of your income.

In addition, the cost of living is usually weighed against the amenities offered in a particular area to determine the quality of life.

How much spending money is left over after all expenses have been paid and how expensive entertainment is? 

In Toms River, you get to enjoy the benefits of waterfront living at a low price.

Properties close to the shore are usually much more expensive than properties inland.

Real estate prices in Toms River are approximately 12% lower than the state average.

And, with the average home price sitting at $230,000 and the average rental being $1,400, Toms River is a very affordable town to live in. 

7. Great public transport

Toms River has several excellent public transportation systems that will get you from one side of the city to the other in no time!

There are several bus routes available, though Ocean Ride that will efficiently transport you from one location to the other quite fast.

If you need to travel to nearby cities, then you can conveniently take the NJ Transit, which makes regular trips to NYC, Atlantic City, and Newark

Furthermore, there are a plethora of great trails and bike trails where you can explore Toms River Trials and Maps.

And, lastly, if you need to make a trip to another city, the Atlantic City International Airport is conveniently located nearby. 

Cons of Living in Toms River, New Jersey

Now we have mentioned that there were far more benefits than drawbacks and you will quickly notice that from this list!

1. Small roads

The town is very popular as it is a bustling economic hub of the county.

As such, there has been a lot of urban and suburban development over the years.

This is great news!

The drawback was that the roads did not expand to accommodate the increased traffic.

This means that you can expect a lot of traffic and traffic jams in the town.

And, getting parking on most days may be more of a hassle than it should be.

And, with this being a coastal town, that means that summer attracts many tourists.

This greatly affects traffic in the town during summer, making Rt. 37 a traffic nightmare during the summer. 

2. Benny’s

The second disadvantage is what is known as Benny’s.

When tourists from up north travel down to vacation in Toms River during the summer, it not only increases the traffic problem, but these individuals come from cities that used to be on the New Jersey transit of Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York City, which form the acronym, Benny’s. 

These tourists bring with them a specific type of personality that doesn’t really conform to the Toms River way of life.

They can be rude and impatient when trying to get back home or during the summer on vacation in Toms River.

Toms River, NJ
Toms River, NJ

Pros and Cons of Living in Toms River, NJ – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Toms River, New JerseyCons of Living in Toms River, New Jersey
1. Crime1. Small roads
2. Close to great beaches2. Benny's
3. Great Stores and Entertainment
4. Education
5. Low poverty rate
6. Affordable housing
7. Great public transport

Toms River Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Toms River Safety Review

Safety Index:
Toms River

Frequently Asked Questions

What food is most popular in Toms River?

Seafood is the number one food that you must try in Toms River.

It is absolutely fresh and delicious.

What is Toms River NJ known for?

Toms River is known for the many beaches that are located along the Jersey Shore.

What are the main tourist attractions in Toms River?

You must visit the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, Double Trouble State Park, and Cultus Island.

These are some of the most famous tourist attractions in the area.

2 Comments on 9 Pros and Cons of Living in Toms River, NJ

  1. S
    Sarah Chatel says:

    The beach here is outstanding, I have been living here ever since I got married, and one of my favorite things about the place is the beach and the transportation. It’s very easy!

  2. D
    Darren Fisher says:

    I’m planning to move here since my sister needs my help with her business, I think I am going to make the right decision. Thanks!

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