What to Do, See and Eat in Forked River: A Waterfront Hamlet in Ocean County

Insider's tip: It's pronounced FORK-ed River, with two syllables.

A boat of people on the water in Forked River
A fun day on the water is to be had courtesy of Barnegat Charter Fishing.Photo: Courtesy of Barnegat Charter Services LLC

You will give yourself away as an outsider if you fail to use two syllables when pronouncing the first word of this Ocean County hamlet—as in FORK-ed River. Though it’s technically part of Lacey Township, most of the 5,274 people who live here refer to Forked River as home, and take pride in the geographic feature that gives this waterfront community its name: the river that flows in from Barnegat Bay and then divides into two, and eventually three, branches.

These main branches and their many tributaries serve as the backyards (and boat-docking opportunities) of many of the homes here. They also feed much of the commerce that is associated with Forked River, from the numerous charter fishing operations that line the north branch, to the marinas and waterfront restaurants that boast spectacular sunset views.


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If you dream of landing a bigeye tuna, or even a shark, you can sign up for a day trip on one of the many chartered fishing boats that launch from Forked River, including Sophia-Grace Charters and Barnegat Charter Fishing. More leisurely water activities can be enjoyed at Forked River Beach Bayfront Park, with its small beach and playground on a point where the river flows into the bay, or inland at the fresh water beaches on Cedar Lake, which give a whole different feel to the area. 


Head over to the Captain’s Inn and Tiki Bar, an institution on the banks of the north fork where you can boat right into one of the restaurant’s slips to grab dinner or drinks. A bit east of Captain’s Inn, there’s the Waterfront, a multi-story restaurant and bar with extensive outdoor dining and event space. For Italian fare, there’s Il Giardino Sul Mare, where they also host monthly wine tastings.


Guests at the Inn at Rivers Edge Marina, a Victorian-era home that is now a bed and breakfast, should expect to pay about $210 a night for a room and a gourmet breakfast before taking off to explore the area. Alternatively, at the Blue Creek Inn, a hotel with a pool in nearby Waretown, rooms go for about $300 a night.

Want to keep exploring? Check out more of our 12 favorite small towns to visit now.

Sophia-Grace Charters; Barnegat Charter Fishing; Forked River Beach Bayfront Park, 1514 Beach Boulevard; Captain’s Inn and Tiki Bar, 304 E. Lacey Road; Waterfront, 361 E. Lacey Road; Il Giardino Sul Mare, 2 Hollywood Boulevard; Inn at Rivers Edge Marina, 223 E. Lacey Road; Blue Creek Inn, 535 U.S. 9, Waretown

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