Nestled along the picturesque coast of New Jersey, Ocean County offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, vibrant communities, and an abundance of recreational opportunities. Boasting picturesque shorelines and a moderate climate, this area provides a fantastic backdrop for leisurely strolls on sandy beaches, invigorating swims in the Atlantic Ocean, and breathtaking sunsets.
Golf enthusiasts can indulge in the numerous championship golf courses, while nature lovers can explore the county's diverse ecosystems, including lush forests and serene marshlands teeming with wildlife. The region also offers a rich cultural scene, with art galleries, museums, and theaters showcasing local talent. Residents can savor a variety of culinary delights, including fresh seafood and farm-to-table dining experiences, complemented by a burgeoning craft beer and wine scene. Ocean County's proximity to major metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia allows for easy access to world-class entertainment and cultural attractions.
Here are three invaluable local resources that will provide you with comprehensive information about visiting or moving to Ocean County:
- Ocean County Tourism: Discover the best of what the Ocean County area has to offer through the official tourism website, which provides a wealth of information about attractions, events, dining, and accommodations.
- Ocean County Government: Gain insight into the county's services, facilities, and resources through the official government website. It offers valuable information on local departments, community initiatives, and living in Ocean County.
- Shore News Network: The local newspaper provides information on events, attractions, and more.
Affordability and Cost of Living
Like most of the state the cost of living in Ocean County is high, about 12 percent higher than the U.S. average but 8 percent lower than the average for the state. Much of the higher costs of living is due to housing prices, the median home price for Ocean County is $458,600 which is higher than both the state and national median price. Other costs such as groceries and utilities are only a bit higher than the national average while transportation is actually a bit lower.
New Jersey's income tax ranges from 1.4 percent to 10.75 percent, social security is not taxed and while other retirement income is taxed there is a large exemption for lower income seniors. New Jersey's sales tax is about average at 6.63 percent although groceries, clothing, and prescription drugs are exempt. New Jersey does have an inheritance tax on any property over $500 unless it is being inherited by a spouse, child, parent, or grandparent. Siblings are exempt for the first $2,500 of inherited property. Property taxes in New Jersey are the highest in the entire country although there is some variation depending on exact location. Property taxes in Ocean County are high with the average homeowner paying 1.47 percent of the property's assessed fair market value.
Climate and Geography
Winters in Ocean County are generally cool, with average temperatures ranging from the low 30s to the mid-40s. While snowfall amounts can vary, the area typically receives an average of 15-20 inches of snow annually, creating opportunities for winter activities and picturesque landscapes. Summers in Ocean County are warm and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the mid-80s. Humidity levels increase during the summer months, contributing to the popularity of local beaches and watersports. The county receives an average annual rainfall of around 40-45 inches, ensuring lush greenery and ample water resources.
While Ocean County enjoys a generally mild climate, it is important to note that the area can be prone to severe weather events such as nor'easters and tropical storms. These weather systems can bring strong winds, heavy rain, and occasional flooding.
Situated along the Atlantic Coast, Ocean County boasts stunning stretches of shoreline and beautiful beaches where one can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy various water activities. Additionally, the county is home to several scenic rivers and waterways, including the Barnegat Bay, which provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and exploring the unique coastal ecosystems. Within a short drive, retirees can also discover the enchanting Pine Barrens, a vast forested area renowned for its pristine wilderness, charming towns, and abundant wildlife.
Recreation, Shopping, and Entertainment
Ocean County offers an abundance of recreational activities, cultural events, shopping destinations, and entertainment options to cater to diverse interests.
Golf and Racquet Sports
- Eagle Ridge Golf Club
- Ocean Acres Country Club
- Sea Oaks Golf Club
- Pine Barrens Golf Club
Hiking, Biking, and Boating
- Island Beach State Park
- Double Trouble State Park
- Cattus Island County Park
- Barnegat Branch Rail Trail
Museums and Historical Sites
- Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum
- Ocean County Historical Society Museum
- NJ Maritime Museum
- Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts
- Surflight Theatre
- Strand Center for the Arts
- Algonquin Arts Theatre
- Ocean County Mall
- Jersey Shore Premium Outlets
- Downtown Toms River
- LBI Surf City
Festivals and Fairs
- Ocean County Fair
- BlueClaws Summer Concert Series
- LBI Chowderfest
- Ocean County Columbus Day Parade
Health and Wellness
Ocean County is in proximity to major medical centers and hospitals, ensuring access to high-quality healthcare services. Notable medical centers in the area include Community Medical Center in Toms River and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. Both hospitals offer a wide range of medical specialties, advanced technology, and personalized care, providing peace of mind for retirees in terms of their healthcare needs.
Ocean County has numerous fitness centers, yoga studios, and wellness centers that provide opportunities for exercise, classes, and therapeutic treatments. There are also several parks and nature reserves throughout the county where residents can engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and cycling. Local farmers markets also provide fresh and locally sourced produce, supporting a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Recommended Itinerary for Visiting Area 55+ Communities
If you're considering Ocean County as a potential retirement destination, taking a trip to visit the area and explore its offerings is a great way to familiarize yourself with the county. Here's a suggested 2-day itinerary to help you make the most of your visit:
- Start your day with a delicious breakfast or coffee at C&G Country Cafe.
- Visit Island Beach State Park, a beautiful coastal area with pristine beaches, nature trails, and stunning views. Spend some time exploring and enjoying the natural surroundings.
- Start your day with breakfast at The Committed Pig, a popular spot known for its delicious breakfast dishes and cozy ambiance.
- Meet with your local 55places expert retirement community partner agent to learn more about retirement communities in the area and discuss your preferences and requirements.
- Take a scenic drive along Long Beach Island and visit the picturesque towns and beaches.
- End your day with a delightful dinner at The Arlington, a fine dining establishment known for its elegant ambiance and exceptional cuisine.
Getting to Ocean County, NJ
Getting to Ocean County is easy with several transportation options available. Whether you're arriving from nearby areas or across the country, here are the directions for reaching the Ocean County area:
The closest major airport to Ocean County is Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), located approximately 60 miles north of the county. Airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and JetBlue Airways operate flights to and from Newark Airport. Newark Airport serves as a hub for United Airlines, offering numerous domestic and international connections. From Newark Airport, you can rent a car or take ground transportation to reach Ocean County.
Ocean County is well-connected to major highways, making it easily accessible by car. The Garden State Parkway is the primary highway serving the county, running north-south through the region. Other major highways providing access to Ocean County include Interstate 195: Connects to the Garden State Parkway and provides access from the west and U.S. Route 9: Runs parallel to the Garden State Parkway, offering an alternative route for travel.
Bus services operated by NJ Transit and private carriers serve Ocean County. NJ Transit bus routes connect the county to neighboring regions and major transportation hubs. Private carriers like Greyhound also provide bus service to the area.