Ocean County is a county located along the Jersey Shore in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Its county seat is Toms River, which, like the county itself, has been one of the fastest growing areas of the state since the 1990s. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 576,567, having increased by 65,651 (+12.8%) from the 2000 Census population of 510,916, surpassing Union County to become the fifth-most populous county in the state and making Ocean County the fastest growing in the state of New Jersey in terms of increase in the number of residents and second-highest in percentage growth. Ocean County was established on February 15, 1850, from portions of Monmouth County, with the addition of Little Egg Harbor Township which was annexed from Burlington County on March 30, 1891. The most populous place was Lakewood Township, with 92,843 residents at the time of the 2010 Census (up 32,491 since 2000, the largest population increase of any municipality in the state), while Jackson Township, covered , the largest total area of any place in New Jersey.
Ocean County is located east of Philadelphia, south of New York City, and north of Atlantic City, making it a prime destination for residents of these cities during the summer. As with the entire Jersey Shore, summer traffic routinely clogs local roadways throughout the season.
Ocean County is part of the New York metropolitan area, and is home to many tourist attractions frequently visited by Delaware Valley residents, especially the beachfront communities of Seaside Heights, Long Beach Island, Point Pleasant Beach, as well as Six Flags Great Adventure, which is the home of the world's tallest and formerly fastest roller coaster, Kingda Ka. Ocean County is also a gateway to New Jersey's Pine Barrens, one of the largest protected pieces of land on the East Coast.