These great ice cream places in US feature farm-fresh ice cream stands, popular small batch ice cream, incredibly popular regional ice cream favorites, and more. Try these great ice cream places on #NationalIceCreamDay or any day of the year.
Leave a comment below with your favorite ice cream spots and I might visit them on future #McCOOLinary road trips.
Great Ice Cream Places in USA to Cool Off
My goal is to visit every ice cream place in the world to truly rate all the great ice cream places. But this list features some of the best US ice cream places.
Call me Dr. Ice Cream. Or Scoops McCool—which is what I would call my ice cream store or homemade ice cream brand (yes, I make my own ice cream). Did you know that there is a McCool’s Ice Cream (no relation)? It is in New Jersey but I have not been to it. Have you?
Without further delay, my favorite ice cream place in the United States is …
Cherry Hill Ice Cream in Lunenburg, Massachusetts
OK, so why Cherry Hill?
First, Cherry Hill has the single best ice cream flavor I have ever had. Unlike other “best” culinary memories, this ice cream flavor does not disappoint whenever I have it. That flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. The milk chocolate ice cream comes from local cows, within sight of the ice cream stand. How cool is that? The mixmasters put in peanut butter cookie dough pieces and layer with ribbons of peanut butter and caramel. #DroptheMic.
There are definitely other flavors. My wife orders their Cookie Dough. Every single time. Why not? It is magnificent. I have tried many other flavors, usually as a second scoop. Since the cream in Cherry Hill ice cream is so fresh (remember, local cows), fillings (like in Moose Tracks and Grasshopper Pie) do not seem too sweet. Not sure their secret but Cherry Hill nails it. Make sure to look at the hand made signs stapled to the wood wall next to the permanent menu. They often make limited small batches.
The original location, in Lunenburg Massachusetts, is in a classic wooden barn on a huge open space next to a working dairy farm. The large parking lot is gravel, the mailbox is a John Deere tractor, the garbage cans are barrels painted with a cow motif. Everything screams—we all scream for ice cream!—farm fresh about the Cherry Hill experience.
Prices are reasonable and portions are huge. I usually order a small, equal to about 3 scoops from popular national ice cream chains.
The true test for me—has anyone eaten Cherry Hill ice cream but prefers a different favorite ice cream place? That is an ice cream place I will visit!
Update on the above statement. I have a trusted friend in Massachusetts who HAS visited Cherry Hill and prefers another ice cream place. In fact, I recently went with him to his recommended ice cream joint, Rota Spring Farm in Sterling, Massachusetts. For me it was nearly as good as Cherry Hill but not quite. I would love to go a few more times though.
Other great ice cream places suggested by travel writer friends:
California – Basil
German chef Soerke Peters of Carmel-based Basil makes homemade organic vanilla cream and gelato—so divine that that my palette was craving it weeks later. More magic comes from their simple topping: Basil Virgin Olive Oil with a mint leaf. You could order this solo or on top of their house-made Olallieberry Cobbler.
Suggested by Renee Blodgett
>>> See also 8 Great Monterey California Activities (and Eats)
California – Manhattan Beach Creamery
I’m going to have to go with my hometown’s Manhattan Beach Creamery! They created the tastiest ice cream sandwiches around and you can have them dipped in milk or dark chocolate. There’s a variety of flavors to choose from but you can’t go wrong with just plain vanilla. Once you have their Cream’wich you will be hooked. What’s great for travelers is that Manhattan Beach is just 15 minutes from LAX. Here’s my post on the perfect LAX Layover.
Suggested by Johnny Jet
>>> See also Fun Things to Do in Torrance California
Delaware – Woodside Dairy Creamery
Woodside Dairy Creamery is a family-owned and operated farm, with some of the most creative flavors I’ve ever tasted. And the ice cream made with their own milk from their herd of Jersey Cows couldn’t be better!
Suggested by Chef Dennis Littley
Massachusetts – Kimball Farm
Kimball Farm Ice Cream is a New England institution. Started on a dairy farm back in 1939, the fresh, smooth and rich quality ice cream they produced helped them grow to four locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. With over 50 varieties of ice cream flavors, one of the first is still the most popular. Kimball’s Maple Walnut hasn’t changed in 75 years. Taste it and you will agree that perfection doesn’t need to change.
Suggested by Frank Parrott from Nothing But New England
North Carolina – Maple View Farm’s Country Store
For our ice cream fix on nice days, Maple View Farm’s Country Store in Hillsborough, North Carolina (Orange County) is the place to be. They have rocking chairs on the front porch, but you should get there early if you want a place to sit. The place fills up quickly because, oh, by the way, they make some fantastic ice cream! PS It’s even better when your wife is about to give birth to your awesome baby! Multiple trips!
Suggested by Carl Hedinger from NC Tripping.
>>> See also 8 Great Places to Eat in Charlotte North Carolina
Rhode Island – Gray’s Ice Cream
I don’t know if it’s the homemade ice cream, or the treat of grabbing a cone at this historic ice cream stand (it’s been there for 94 years) on the way home from a day at the beach that I love more. Gray’s Ice Cream has flavors that really reflect their Rhode Island roots, like Grapenut Pudding and my other favorite Maple Walnut.
Suggested by Zippy Sandler
Vermont – Scout & Co.
Suggested by Dana Freeman
>>> See also 8 Great Things to Do in Vermont
Virginia – Great Falls Creamery
When I want local ice cream in Northern Virginia I head to Great Falls Creamery in the Great Falls Village Center. It’s a local, family-run business, serving generous scoops and tasty toppings (ask for a cookie on top!). When the weather is nice, enjoy your treat outside on the Great Falls village green.
Suggested by Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA
>>> See also Great Places to Visit Near Washington DC
Wisconsin – Chocolate Shoppe
With over 100 flavors, you’ll have a hard time trying to choose at the family-owned Chocolate Shoppe in Madison. Our favorite is the Root Beer Float ice cream. Old-fashioned vanilla ice cream swirled with root beer Italian ice. Clever names like Exhausted Parent with bourbon-spiked espresso ice cream swirled with bittersweet chocolate chunks and the Fat Elvis sweet banana ice cream with salty peanut butter ripple and rich liquid chocolate chips will have you coming back for more.
Suggested by Sue Reddel from Food Travelist
Wisconsin – Kilwin’s Lake Geneva
Every good summer lake town has a great ice cream spot and in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin that spot belongs to Kilwin’s For over 70 years Kilwin’s has been scooping out handmade ice cream (made with Wisconsin dairy of course) in addition to their homemade candy and fudge. In my opinion there is no better way to end a day on the lake than with a scoop of Kilwin’s chocolate peanut butter in a freshly made waffle cone.
Suggested by Brianna Simmons from Casual Travelist
As you explore the US, spend a little time at some of these (and other) amazing and creative great ice cream places.
Do you have any other great ice cream places to recommend?