The Township which was incorporated in 1875 consists of an area approximately 41.9 square miles, or 26,816 acres in the central part of Ocean County along the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, which is part of the inland waterway running along the Eastern seaboard of the continental United States. Approximately 72% of the Townships land area is within the federally designated Pinelands National Reserve. Approximately 38% is within the State's Pineland Area, which is within the Pinelands National Reserve. Dover Township, the County Seat and Toms River form the northern border of the Township, Cedar Creek and Lacey Township form the Township's southern. The Barrier Island, on which South Seaside Park and Island Beach State Park are situated, is the Township's eastern boundary.
The Township is primarily a residential community offering the wide beaches of Island Beach State Park on the Atlantic Ocean and the vast expanses of Barnegat Bay as well as the Toms River for sailing and water sports.
Within the Township's borders are the unincorporated developments of South Seaside Park, Bayville, Pinewald, Manitou Park and Pelican Island on Barnegat Bay. Also included would be the retirement communities of Holiday City Berkeley, Holiday City Carefree, Holiday City West, Holiday City South, Holiday City Heights, Silver Ridge Park West, Silver Ridge Park North, Silver Ridge Park Westerly, and Silver Ridge Park East.
Prior to 1950, the Township to the west of U.S. Route 9 was undeveloped. Residential and commercial development was concentrated in the areas of Pinewald and Bayville along the coastline. With the opening of the Garden State Parkway and improvements to Federal, State and County highways in the 1950's and 1960's, residential development increased commercial development. For the past three decades, the County's population and development have increased the fastest of all the Counties in the State. This growth in Township ratables was the result of the availability of land at reasonable prices; the existence of necessary infrastructure to service growth, ease of access to the New York, Philadelphia and Princeton-Trenton metropolitan areas, respectively approximately 68 miles, 60 miles, and 36 miles distant, and proximity to employment opportunities in Northern Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.
The North to South route is the Garden State Parkway with two access and egress ramps in the Township and U.S. Route 9 and State Route 37 run westerly from the Barrier Island to State Route 70.