12 Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off

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.

Let me know 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.

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Cherry Hill Ice Cream, Lunenburg Massachusetts

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.

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
best USA ice cream: Cherry Hill Ice Cream
Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
amazing ice cream at Cherry Hill Ice Cream

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.

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article and photo by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
incredible ice cream at Cherry Hill Ice Cream

Prices are reasonable and portions are huge. I usually order a small, equal to about 3 scoops from popular national ice cream chains.

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Cherry Hill Ice Cream, Lunenburg Massachusetts

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!

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
USA’s best ice cream is at Cherry Hill Ice Cream

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.

one of USA's best ice cream places: Rota Spring
order a small (two scoops) at Rota Spring Farm

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

basil ice cream in Carmel California
Basil, Carmel California. Photo by Renee Blodgett.

>>> See also Monterey California Activities

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

icee cream cookie from Manhattan Beach Creamer California
Manhattan Beach Creamery, California. Photo from MBCreamery.com.

>>> See also Fun Things to Do in Torrance

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

ice cream menu at Woodside Farm Creamery in Delaware
Woodside Farm Creamery, Delaware. Photo by Chef Dennis Littley.

>>> See also Places to Eat in Delaware

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

giant ice cream sundae
Kimball Farm, Massachusetts. Photo by Frank Parrott.

>>> See also Things to Do in Northampton

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.

looking down at ice cream in waffle cone
Maple View, North Carolina. Photo by Carl Hedinger.

>>> See also Places to Eat in Charlotte

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

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Gray’s Ice Cream, Rhode Island. Photo from GraysIceCream.com.

Vermont – Scout & Co.

Scout & Co. has the weirdest local flavors of ice cream, like sweet corn red currant and smoked maple. Dana also strongly suggests trying Vermont’s soft-served creemee ice cream.

Suggested by Dana Freeman

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Scout & Company, Vermont. Photo by Scout & Co.

>>> See also 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

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Great Falls Creamery, Virginia. Photo by Julie McCool.

>>> See also Places to Visit Near 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

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Chocolate Shoppe, Wisconsin. Photo by Sue Reddel.

>>> See also Things to Do in Beloit Wisconsin

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

Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off. Article by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.
Kilwin’s, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Photo by Brianna Simmons.

>>> See also Things to Do in Janesville

As you explore the US, spend a little time at some of these (and other) amazing and creative great ice cream places.

Let me know of any other great ice cream places I should explore.

Sharing is caring!

37 thoughts on “12 Great Ice Cream Places in US to Cool Off”

  1. Two other Massachusetts ice cream shops you NEED to try: Toscanini’s in Cambridge, MA and Four Seas Ice Cream in Centreville, MA (on Cape Cod).

  2. I think I need to visit to compare to our best ice cream! Think I need one now after reading this.

  3. I would add Nelson Creamery in Nelson, Wi (West side) and Jaxon’s in Hollywood, Florida. Yummy yummy get in my tummy!

  4. The close-up photos of the ice cream drove me nuts! Now I’m craving some ice cream! Great list of places for me the next time in the USA!

  5. OMG! We seem to be drawn to ice cream, and this article is making my mouth water. I need to be sure to keep it hidden from my wife or we will be adding every location to our travel list. Now you need to visit the Central U.S. to add some more places to this list.

  6. OK, I’m screaming for ice cream after reading this (and drooling over the photos). I like that they’re local shops with home made ice cream, and I must go to Cherry Hill soon!

  7. Didn’t know about Great Falls Creamery…will have to check it out! Have you tried the Frozen Custard at Lake Anne yet?

  8. if you come down here to new orleans, let me know and I will take you to 2 places. First we have an old Italian gelateria called Brocatos. It is phenomenal.
    Second the place that is making ice cream great again here is my friend David Bergeron at the Creole Creamery. If you want, we can try their Ice Cream versus Man challenge called the Tchoupitoulas!

  9. Awesome post, Charles! Thanks for including Maple View ala yours truly. Now I want some ice cream! Are you going to deliver some our way? 🙂

  10. Can’t go wrong recommending ice cream! Especially with such yummy pictures! I will be heading to Cherry Hill Ice Cream next time I’m in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

  11. They ALL look great! But if I had to pick one to visit, to would be Basil in Carmel. Love that town, and it’s far too long since I’ve been there. Thx for the tour of great ice-cream shops in the US.

  12. My mouth is watering after reading your post on great U.S. ice cream venues. Kilwins Confectionary has been a long favorite of mine–and for chocolate, too.

  13. Any time is Ice cream time.These are really some cool joints to dig into some tempting ice creams. Thank God there is Ice cream in the world, and this is something you will fine in most places of the World.

  14. I’m actually kind of excited about Basil in Carmel. We’ll be there next week and our oldest has just started enjoying more interesting ice creams. And I eat ice cream in secret often, so there’s that too…

  15. I have been known to travel for ice cream, so this is the perfect list for me. I want to try all of these flavors, but the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough is top on my list. Major yum!

  16. I know what I need to go get today! Homemade ice cream!! Delicious list thanks for including Nothing But New England’s suggestion!

  17. As an ice cream lover these photos and descriptions of ice cream shops around the US have me drooling! An ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate? Yes please! Ice cream and berry cobbler? I’ll take two. Time to add these places to our US road trip plans.

Comments are closed.