15 Best Things to Do in Toms River, NJ

Toms River, NJ
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Located in New Jersey’s Ocean County, Toms River has a lot to offer to its visitors.

Given its location, you can witness a lot of stunning nature and sea views from this township.

It also serves as a home to many different activities that you can participate in to spend your time in the best way possible.

You can learn and enjoy your time at Toms River by doing some of these activities, ranging from watching live shows to learning about bugs.

Are you planning a trip to this municipality in New Jersey?

Here are the 15 best things you can do in Toms River, New Jersey:

Explore Space Through the Robert J. Novins Planetarium

Front View of Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Daniel Collins, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What lies beyond the atmosphere is a wonder for many people.

From Earth, not many places still have a great view of the stars and heavenly bodies in space because of light pollution.

However, there is still a way to witness how beautiful outer space can be.

When you’re in Toms River, head over to the Robert J. Novins Planetarium.

Front View of Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Daniel Collins, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here, you can learn more about space while witnessing how beautiful the view from Earth can be.

The planetarium features several projected shows, including Laser Shows, Sky Shows, and movies projected on a full dome.

Additionally, a myriad of exciting and informational programs are offered here so that everyone can enjoy the wonders of space even further.

Add this planetarium to your Toms River must-visit list.

Sail Towards Barnegat Bay at River Lady Cruises

One of the most popular attractions at Toms River is the River Lady Cruises.

Here, you can ride an authentic paddlewheel riverboat reproduction that can carry up to 150 passengers.

Experience what it was like riding a Mississippi paddleboat from the 1800s by heading to this attraction.

When you come here, you can go sightseeing from the boat, or eat a meal during lunch or dinner while cruising along the river.

This cruise sails downstream from the Toms River, heading into the Barnegat Bay.

Witness the beauty of Toms River from a fantastic paddleboat by joining River Lady Cruises.

Learn About the Region at Ocean County Historical Museum

View of Ocean County Historical Museum
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s always interesting to learn about the destinations you choose for your holiday.

If you’re curious about the history of Toms River and its neighboring cities and towns, head over to the Ocean County Museum.

The Ocean County Historical Society has always operated this museum ever since it opened in 1950.

This historical museum features a collection of artifacts and documents that lets you get a glimpse of life at Toms River back in the day.

Apart from the incredible memorabilia, the museum itself is housed inside a Victorian-style home.

If you want an in-depth look at Toms River’s past, make sure to go on a guided tour at this museum, which it offers for free.

It’s definitely a must-visit attraction in town.

Catch a Live Show at Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

You can find the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts right at the heart of Ocean County College’s campus.

This place, lauded by many, aims to provide the region with entertainment and the arts.

It features many fantastic live performances from artists worldwide.

The center always aims to let the public witness once-in-a-lifetime shows done by many talented and unique performers.

You can also discover local talent here as the center also features concerts by musicians from the area.

After watching an amazing show, make sure to also check out the center’s in-house art gallery.

Catching a live performance here is a great way to spend time in Toms River, so don’t miss out on it.

Hike the Trails at Cattus Island County Park

View of Cattus Island County Park
Kevin Scisorek / Shutterstock.com

An impressive attraction you can find in Toms River is the Cattus Island County Park.

This park spans around 530 acres, and it features up to seven miles worth of hiking trails.

Apart from letting you see the beauty of Tom River’s flora and fauna, some of these trails also lead you to witness stunning views of Barnegat Bay.

Other than the hiking trails, you can also head over to the Cooper Environmental Center, located within the park.

There, you can participate in some of the center’s interactive exhibits that will please visitors of all ages.

Some of these exhibits include a birdwatching area, a butterfly garden, and a habitat tunnel.

Toms River is blessed with awe-inspiring natural beauty, and heading to Cattus Island County Park is a great way to discover it.

Discover Historic Boats at Toms River Seaport Society

The sea and other bodies of water form a significant part of the Toms River.

As such, the township’s Seaport Society was founded back in 1976.

This non-profit aims to preserve the area’s rich maritime heritage.

They have a collection of boats that you can see when you visit this museum.

These include indigenous boats, historic sea craft, and modern vessels.

Toms River Seaport Society features two boatsheds that you can explore to see their extensive collection.

If you want to learn more about these boats, this attraction also has a library where you can read up on them.

Meanwhile, you can also head to the gift shop for some souvenirs from your trip.

This place is definitely a go-to attraction when you’re in Toms River.

Spend Some Time at Ortley Beach

Here at Toms River, you can find Ortley Beach, an unincorporated area of the township.

It also goes by the name Dover Beaches South, and you can find it on Barnegat Peninsula.

The beach is not large as it only spans an area that’s less than a square mile.

Nevertheless, there are many things you can do here when you visit.

Here, you can find a boardwalk right by the Dover County-managed beach area.

Ortley Beach has two divisions, where you can find the Surf Club and a pay-to-play beach.

Apart from the beaches, you can also find many parks, marinas, restaurants, and recreational activities at Ortley Beach.

Craving for a beach day? Visit Toms River’s Ortley Beach.

Join Educational Events at Ocean County Library

Front View of Ocean County Library
Daniel Collins, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While it may seem unconventional, a library is one of Tom River’s most promoted attractions.

The Ocean County Library has played a significant part in the local community.

As most people already know, libraries are a great place to learn about the world.

By heading here, you can have access to this library’s collection with over one million volumes.

You can also learn about the region as this library carries a collection of local history.

If you want to try out a more interactive way to gather new knowledge, you’ll be happy to know that this library also offers exciting events and workshops that you can participate in.

Are you curious about this town and its history?

Why not spend time at Tom River’s local library?

Learn About Bugs at Insectropolis

You can find a peculiar attraction in Toms River.

Dubbed as the state’s “Bugseum,” Insectropolis is considered by many as a fun, educational, and unique attraction in town.

Here, you can find displays featuring thousands of various interesting and exotic insects.

The showcases feature both local insects and bugs found around the world.

Apart from the exhibits, you can also catch many interactive displays here at Insectropolis.

These interactive areas primarily cater to children.

However, visitors of all ages can also have fun and learn a thing or two about bugs here as well.

Some of the exhibits let people observe live insects up close but in a safe and contained way.

There are also touch presentations done daily here, where you can get to know more about millipedes and arachnids.

Don’t hesitate to add this to your Toms River holiday itinerary.

Look for Souvenirs at Ocean County Mall

A Sign in Ocean County Mall
Mike Joson / Shutterstock.com

Don’t leave Toms River without shopping.

Ocean County Mall first opened its doors to the public in 1976.

Considered as a “super-regional mall,” it has served as an amazing shopping location in the area for both locals and tourists.

Additionally, it’s also the only enclosed mall found in the county.

The place features boutique chains and smaller shops that you can check out while you’re here.

It also becomes a tourist haven during summer as visitors flock into its hallways.

Apart from various shops, you can also find a myriad of restaurants and cafes here that you can check out.

It’s a great place to head to and hang out if you want a low-key mall day during your vacation to Toms River.

Watch a Production at Exit 82 Theatre Company

Another place to head over to for some live entertainment is the Exit 82 Theatre Company.

For the past 13 years, this place has produced amazing theatre programs and promoted arts education in the community.

Here, you can catch many stage productions brought together by the members of this theater company.

Apart from theater shows, you can also catch other events here.

You can take part in open mic sessions and other unique live performances.

Workshops and classes are offered here, too.

Appreciate the art of live performance at the Exit 82 Theatre Company.

Stroll Through Downtown Toms River

View of  Downtown Toms River
Mr. Matté (if there is an issue with this image, contact me using this image's Commons talk page or my English Wikipedia talk page; I'll know about it a lot faster), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Start your adventure in Toms River the right way by exploring the downtown area.

You can go on a self-guided walking tour at the heart of town, where you can find many historic buildings that have been here for a long time.

Apart from their historical significance, they also feature impressive architecture that will leave you in awe.

While walking around, some of the significant buildings you can find include the township’s municipal building, the Ocean County Courthouse, and Bishop Memorial Library.

You can also discover some of the local parks where you can rest after your walking tour.

Although the township is small, you can discover many things just by strolling around in the afternoon.

Relax at Huddy Park

Are you looking for a place to relax and just hang out while you’re in Toms River?

When you’re here, try to check out Huddy Park.

This beautiful park is dedicated to Joshua Huddy, a historical figure from the American Revolutionary War.

The area features an impressive gazebo and a picnic area, where you and your companions can relax after a long day of walking around.

Additionally, you can also catch a lot of special events held at this park.

It’s a fantastic place to find some tranquility in the middle of Toms River.

Learn Ice Skating at Winding River Rink

Having fun on the ice is not reserved for winter at Toms River.

Here, you can find the Winding River Ice Rink, which lets you skate in two rinks - an outdoor ice rink and a newer indoor one.

This ice rink facility is open all year round, so you can pay a visit and go skating here even if it’s not winter.

Apart from the ice amenities, it also offers events and classes for people who are interested.

The entire family can have fun at Winding River Rink when you come here.

Don’t hesitate to spend a pleasant day at this attraction.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have a Blast at Casino Beach & Seaside Pier

View of Casino Beach & Seaside Pier
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Located 15 minutes from the heart of Toms River is the Casino Beach & Seaside Pier.

This attraction comprises a boardwalk area and an amusement park where you can lose hours to fun and excitement.

You can find some of the best attractions in the area at Casino Pier.

View of Casino Beach & Seaside Pier
Scott Heaney / Shutterstock.com

It features a thrilling roller coaster and a pleasant Ferris Wheel.

You can even find a 36-hole adventure golf course here.

Apart from this, you can also head to the SkyCoaster and an arcade and recreational area.

Food Stands and restaurants are also found in this area.

View of Casino Beach & Seaside Pier
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

As a cherry on top, Casino Pier also features Breakwater Beach, an outdoor water park.

It features a wave pool and a myriad of waterslides that you can try out.

Interactive areas for kids are also available here.

If you have time to kill and you want to have some fun with the family for a day, check Casino beach & Seaside Pier out.

Final Thoughts

Toms River has a charm that is tough to resist.

You can find a wide variety of sights and activities that will provide you with memorable experiences with your companions.

It’s an underrated New Jersey destination that you should add to your bucket list.