Bay Head is a borough in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 968, reflecting a decline of 270 (-21.8%) from the 1,238 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 12 (+1.0%) from the 1,226 counted in the 1990 Census. Bay Head is situated on the Barnegat Peninsula, also known as Barnegat Bay Island, a long, narrow barrier island that separates Barnegat Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Together with Mantoloking, Bay Head is considered part of the Jersey Shore's "Gold Coast".
Bay Head was incorporated as a Borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 15, 1886, from portions of Brick Township, based on the results of a referendum held three days earlier.
The community was supposed to have been named "Bayhead" after the Bayhead Land Company that developed the area in the 1870s. A railroad sign posted in the 1880s labeled the station as "Bay Head," and the name stuck when the borough was incorporated in 1886. The name also comes from the town's location, which is at the "head" of Barnegat Bay.
The Bayhead Land Company was incorporated on September 6, 1879, capitalized at $12,000. The founding partners were David H. Mount of Rocky Hill, and three Princeton men: Edward Howe, his brother Leavitt Howe and William Harris. Within several years, the resort had grown in population, with a seawall installed, roads built and graded. In 1882, Bay Head had 20 new cottages and a population of 75.
The first post office was established in Bay Head in the summer of 1882.