Seaside Heights is situated on the Barnegat Peninsula, in Ocean County, New Jersey. During the summer, the borough attracts a crowd largely under the age of 21, drawn to a community with boardwalk entertainment and one of the few shore communities with sizable numbers of apartments, attracting as many as 65,000 people who are often out until early morning visiting bars and restaurants.
Seaside Heights was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 26, 1913, from portions of both Berkeley Township and Dover Township (now Toms River Township), based on the results of a referendum held on March 25, 1913. The borough was named for its location on the Atlantic Ocean. As a resort community, the beach, an amusement-oriented boardwalk, and numerous clubs and bars, make it a popular destination. Seaside Heights calls itself, "Your Home For Family Fun Since 1913!" The beach season runs from March to October, with the peak months being July and August, when the summer population explodes to 30,000 to 65,000.
In 1915, Senate Amusement Company of Philadelphia planned to build an ocean-side attraction in Seaside Heights within feet of the border to Seaside Park. Their plan was to build a covered pier to house a carousel. The structure was built in 1915 under the direction of Joseph Vanderslice of Senate Amusement Company. Budget issues stalled the project in 1916, and the amusement ride and building was subsequently sold to Frank Freeman. The combination of the completion of the Toms River Bridge on October 23, 1914, and the DuPont Avenue carousel and boardwalk are what likely led to the 159% population growth shown between the 1920 and 1930 censuses in Seaside Heights.
On June 9, 1955, a malfunctioning neon sign component caused a fire driven by winds estimated at 50 miles per hour, blowing the fire south and engulfing the entire pier. In what became known as Freeman's Fire, a total of 85 buildings were destroyed with an estimated $4 million in damage.
Casino Pier and Funtown Pier (partially located within both Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park) are amusement parks, each situated on a pier extending approximately 300 feet (100 m) into the Atlantic Ocean. Each of the two piers are part of a boardwalk that stretches for 2 miles (3.2 km) and offers many family-friendly attractions ranging from arcades, to games of chance, to beaches, and to the wide variety of foods and desserts, all within walking distance. Breakwater Beach (formerly known as Water Works) is a water park situated across the street from Casino Pier.