The Best Ice Cream in Every State
We scream, you scream, everybody screams for ice cream! Here's where to order a scoop of the best ice creams in the U.S.A.
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The most indulgent ice cream in every state
A search for the best ice cream can take a lifetime and feature a million delicious scoops along the way. After all, there are good reasons why ice cream ranks so highly on the list of favorite foods. It’s one of the best desserts, and it should be ranked at the top of every list of state foods. What other sweet treat appears at all your birthday parties and helps you through every breakup? What other food will cool you down when it’s 90 degrees outside, or stop a hot slice of pie from burning your tongue? That sweet cold perfection in a cone is there for us in so many ways, and we don’t even know who invented ice cream.
With that in mind, we’ve scoured the states to find the absolute best ice creams in the U.S.A. If you wanted to use this information to design an ice cream–based road trip, please invite us along to discover the best ice cream in every state.
Alabama: Peach Park
The best place to grab ice cream in the state that bleeds crimson is Peach Park, where customers can buy fresh peach ice cream with a side of peach pie. The Clanton-based Peach Park Farms site is open only from March to November, so make sure you don’t pass it by or you’ll have to visit McDonald’s instead.
Alaska: Wild Scoops
Alaska eats the most ice cream per capita of any state, so you know they take their scoops very seriously. Opened in 2015, this smalPreview (opens in a new tab)l-batch ice cream company in Anchorage uses local Alaskan add-ins and all-natural ingredients to create more than 100 different flavors. While Wild Scoops sells standard flavors, visitors can try more adventurous options too, like Holy Mole (Ancho, pasilla, guajillo peppers, and Chugach Chocolate bits) and Spruce Tip, described as “totally unique and Alaskan.” Wash it down with a delicious cold brew coffee.
Arizona: Sweet Provisions
This Scottsdale ice cream shop is sweetly old-fashioned and sugary sweet, selling fresh, daily-made ice cream using only local Arizona dairy. Sweet Provisions rotates flavors daily and offers myriad cone flavors and toppings, along with freshly baked cookies, pies, cakes, and other desserts. Not only are they serving the best ice cream in Arizona, their Old School Split is one of the tastiest banana uses we’ve come across.
Arkansas: Burton’s Creamery
Students at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville line up to get soft serve and ice cream sandwiches from this food truck. The ice cream comes with toppings that are salty, sweet, or spicy and drizzled in sauce. Plus, while most soft-serve ice cream contains one to three percent butterfat, at Burton’s, the soft serve clocks in at 10 percent butterfat, making their ice cream extra creamy and rich. Keep an eye out for their bright purple truck, or visit the shop. You know about soft serve, but do you know about sorbet vs. sherbet?
California: McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
With nearly 70 years of experience, McConnell’s has perfected ethically sourced, slow-churned ice cream, available to anyone lucky enough to be in Santa Barbara. Flavors like Turkish coffee, eureka lemon and marionberries, chocolate-covered strawberries, and peppermint stick pack an extra flavor punch. Best of all, this southern California staple ships to almost every state. (Sorry, Alaska!) You can pick apples in every state, though.
Colorado: Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
Rated best ice cream by Colorado Parent magazine, this Denver-based shop has a huge variety of flavors to choose from. The old-fashioned vinyl seats, red-and-white striped awning, and handwritten menu give visitors a quaint, retro place to stop for a morning, midday, afternoon, or evening snack. While the ice cream is great, the cause they support is even better. Bonnie Brae contributes to the Alpha-1 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes research to find treatments and a cure for the genetic condition. We love a food fact that does good!
Connecticut: Ferris Acres Creamery
Sold out of a quaint, seasonal farm stand, Ferris Acres Creamery in Newtown offers ice cream, cakes, and pies with a view. Visitors can eat their treats while watching cows graze on the farm. The creamery sells a multitude of regular flavors like Bada Bing (chocolate almond ice cream with Bing cherries) and Grasshopper (mint ice cream with crushed Oreos), as well as seasonal flavors like cotton candy and pistachio. For diabetics or visitors who want to limit their sugar intake, the shop also sells six flavors, such as coffee chip, black raspberry, and vanilla with fudge swirls, using Splenda as a sweetener. If you like sweets, you definitely have an opinion on the jam vs. jelly debate.
Delaware: UDairy Creamery
Managed by three and run by more than 50 University of Delaware students, the UDairy Creamery attracts students and visitors alike. The ice cream base is processed in New Jersey, made from milk from the University of Delaware cows. The base is then shipped back and flavored, frozen, and packaged by UD students at the creamery’s storefront location in Newark. Some flavors brim with school pride, like Blue Hen Tracks (vanilla ice cream with mini peanut butter cups, fudge swirl, and blue and yellow sprinkles), while others are a little more out of the box, like Zest Fest (orange zest—infused ice cream with cashews and chocolate chunks). If you want a philosophical debate along with your cone, ask the students if a hot dog is a sandwich.
Florida: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant
Massive servings at this Dania Beach ice cream shop are just one of the reasons Floridians love Jaxson’s, and travelers to the Fort Lauderdale area will not want to miss out. The Zagat-rated shop has one of the country’s largest collections of rural American memorabilia, including an automobile license plate collection. Fans of food trivia should definitely stop in for a scoop or two.
Georgia: Butter and Cream
This Decatur shop seeks to give a modern twist to classic ice cream mainstays. Butter and Cream bakes their add-ins, along with making their small-batch ice cream, right on-site. The charming shop also apparently smells like cookies when you open the door, due to the cookie ice-cream sandwiches made there. Run, don’t walk.
Hawaii: Scandinavian Shave Ice
Hawaii is known for this delicious icy treat, perfect for those hot island days. Known by locals as “Scandi’s,” this Kona landmark boasts the “best shave ice in paradise.” Visitors to the Big Island can add an ice cream core in the middle of their ice, with toppings like mochi and popping pearls. The portions are huge, and there’s plenty of seating in this festive shop.
Idaho: Freezia Ice Cream
If you’ve never had hand-rolled ice cream, you’re about to experience the best ice cream ever. This Post Falls ice cream trailer, Freezia, takes about five minutes to make each visiter’s custom creation. They choose a base ice cream before adding in flavors like pineapple, toffee, and mint Oreo, and toppings like almonds and gummy bears. The hand-rolled ice cream starts out as a liquid and freezes right in front of the customer’s eyes. A must-eat in Idaho! Check their social media for locations. And while you’re trying new things, do you know about bubble tea?
Illinois: Black Dog Gelato
Chicago residents and visitors won’t have to travel far to try the Italian-style ice cream at Black Dog Gelato, which has four locations, in Ukrainian Village, Roscoe Village, and Downtown. The gelato comes on a stick with plenty of topping options, and visitors can choose from eccentric flavors including Cucumber Rosewater Sorbet, Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel, and Blueberry French Toast.
Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station, or BRICS, actually serves its ice cream out of a train station in Indianapolis. With more than 40 flavors and a dozen toppings to choose from, this ice cream shop is a must for visitors to the Hoosier state.
Iowa: Thelma’s Treats
Consistently ranked among the best ice cream shops in Iowa, Thelma’s combines two homemade delicacies: cookies and ice cream. The ice cream sandwiches are only $3 apiece for combinations such as sugar cookie with strawberry ice cream, and peanut butter with banana ice cream, all made according to great-grandma Thelma’s original recipe. If you live near Des Moines, they even deliver!
Kansas: Sylas & Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream
Sylas and Maddy’s is making the best ice cream in Kansas. It’s so good that they have shops in both Olathe and Lawrence. This family-owned business churns out flavors like Kansas Twister, Mahomes Magic, and Cake Batter, and all the ice cream is made on-site and totally delicious. We bet Sylas and Maddy would have something to add to the white eggs vs. brown eggs question too.
Kentucky: Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge
Industrial chic isn’t the first term that comes to mind to describe an ice cream parlor, but Lexington’s Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge pulls in locals and visitors alike to their cool shop. The ice cream is made with natural ingredients, such as “100 percent Kentucky dairy from JD Country Milk, and blackberries and strawberries from your neighbors’ farms,” according to their website. Flavors like Bourbon & Honey, Kentucky Blackberry & Buttermilk, and Dark Chocolate Truffle are served in adorable Mason jars.
Louisiana: Plum Street Snoballs
New Orleans favorite Plum Street Snoballs offers more than 50 flavors at its colorful, vintage storefront near Tulane University. (We know, snoballs aren’t technically ice cream, but they are cold, sweet, and delicious!) Although the stand tends to be busy, lines move quickly. Beyond standard and eccentric flavors like praline, bubblegum, and lemon meringue cream, visitors above the age of 21 can get theirs spiked!
Maine: Beals Old-Fashioned Ice Cream
With four locations in southern Maine, Beals Ice Cream is a favorite with locals because of its charm and wide (and we mean wide) variety of flavors. The hard ice cream and hand-dipped cones are always a favorite, but they also have sherbet, sorbet, sugar-free, and froyo, so make sure to check out the best ice cream in the Pine Tree State for a taste of Old Maine. It would pair perfectly with a chai tea.
Maryland: The Charmery
Within walking distance of renowned Johns Hopkins University, The Charmery in Baltimore offers experimental flavors like Maryland Mud, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and Mango Lime Hot Sauce. Most important, this Charm City ice cream shop sells a Maryland staple: Old Bay ice cream. This quirky ice cream shop also offers color-changing “magic” spoons and homemade marshmallows.
Massachusetts: SoCo Creamery
Micro-batch ice cream never tasted so sweet. This Great Barrington ice cream shop lists all its ingredients to ensure visitors know what’s in their homemade ice cream, and flavors at SoCo Creamery include blueberry honey lavender, ginger, and black raspberry, which pack a wallop of flavor in each bite.
Michigan: Moomers Homemade Ice Cream
Visitors can pull up a stool at this quaint, family-owned shop in Traverse City. Sundaes are the best ice cream order at Moomers, and popular choices include the Turtle (any ice cream flavor with hot fudge, caramel, and butter roasted salted pecans) and the Udder Delight (a brownie sundae with ice cream smothered with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry). We’ve got sweet stuff covered, but do you know about the umami flavor?
Minnesota: MilkJam Creamery
Helmed by Sameh Wadi since 2016, MilkJam is the cream of Uptown Minneapolis. Always original, their flavors include childhood-cereal-inspired tastes like Cinnamon Caramel Toast Crunch and Puff Daddies (featuring chocolate-covered Reese’s puffs). Dairy addicts can also try the titular MilkJam, a blend of caramelized goat, cow, and sweetened condensed milks.
Mississippi: Area 51 Ice Cream
Ice cream lovers who don’t want all the bells and whistles will love this low-key Hernando shop. The ice cream flavors at Area 51 pack a punch, with combinations like caramelized banana, blackberry and goat cheese, and salted caramel. It also has perfect five-star reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor—so maybe you should start planning your trip to Mississippi.
Missouri: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
A St. Louis staple, Ted Drewes is known for the best frozen custard in the country, or at least that’s what the locals will tell you. But visitors can also get Ted’s “concrete,” the most popular treat, at these custard stands. “The concrete, which was created in 1959, is a malt or shake so thick that it is served upside down”—without spilling from the cup— according to the website. This is a quintessential Missouri treat. Hot dogs are another classic treat, but do you know what a hot dog is made of?
Montana: Big Dipper Ice Cream
Expect this walk-up joint to be packed every single night, at any of the four locations (Helena, Billings, and two in Missoula) in the warmer months. Big Dipper Ice Cream, a celebrated Montana staple, sells homemade ice cream scoops and shakes with fantastic texture, in flavors like Mexican chocolate, black licorice, and huckleberry.
Nebraska: Ivanna Cone
Located in Lincoln, Ivanna Cone looks like its own product, with its fun turquoise walls. The soda-shop vibe also echoes the sweetness of the ice cream, which has a base of 14 percent buttercream—the kind of detail that makes it the best ice cream in Nebraska. The shop normally has around 15 flavors, which range from fresh strawberry and mint chip to lemongrass ginger and carrot cake. Hungry for more ice cream puns?
Nevada: Steve’s Homemade Ice Cream
Going from Staten Island, New York, to Fernley, Nevada, Steve of Steve’s Homemade Ice Cream set up shop in the desert to sell the best desserts in the state. This ice cream shop makes its products on-site, and the flavors change seasonally. Steve is providing an essential service in a desert state—fortunately he’s also making some of the best ice cream in the U.S. We’ll take anything chocolate, please (except white chocolate!).
New Hampshire: Memories Ice Cream
Set in a charming dairy barn in Nashua, Memories sells ice cream made on-site. This small business offers more than 35 flavors, as well as weekly and monthly specialties, and the serving sizes are wicked good too, as New Englanders would say. The best part? Visitors can take their ice cream to a rocking chair on the porch and relax. With a setup this good, we might have to change the name of the Granite State to the Big Chill State.
New Jersey: Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream
Located in Ledgewood, Cliff’s has been cranking out delicious ice cream year-round since 1975. It’s the home of the Skyscraper (don’t ask) and offers more than 60 ice cream flavors (as well as 11 soft-serves). If you’re coming from New York, try the Graham Central Station, while visitors from elsewhere in New Jersey might prefer the Holy Cannoli. Take a seat at one of the picnic tables scattered outside and enjoy.
New Mexico: Caliche’s Frozen Custard
Caliche’s Frozen Custard specializes in amazing frozen custard swirled into a big cup, all served from a cute retro storefront. Visitors can choose from flavors like Big Hawaiian (bananas, pineapple, coconut, and salted pecan pieces) and Fudge Brownie Bliss. Everyone traveling through Las Cruces should stop by, mostly because a local will recommend it anyway. If you’re running low on small talk, try asking if they think eggplant is a fruit or a vegetable.
New York: Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
New York City is known for some of the most amazing (and occasionally overrated) cuisines, and Morgenstern’s is definitely in the former category. This modern ice cream parlor usually has a line that wraps around the navy-painted building near the Bowery, but once travelers get inside, they can taste up to three flavors, like Pineapple Salted Egg Yolk, Burnt Honey Vanilla, and Edible Schoolyard Mint Chip. Morgenstern’s originally went viral for its uber-Instagrammable black coconut ash ice cream. However, due to a NYC-wide ban on using activated charcoal in food products, you’ll have to stick to one of their other flavors.
North Carolina: Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream
Seasonal, cash-only Sunni Sky’s in Angier offers more than 125 ice cream flavors and quick service. Visitors love the options and taste, and the shop consistently gets fantastic reviews. Intriguingly, there are a couple of flavors that consumers must sign a waiver to order: the Cold Sweat and the Exit Wound. Turns out, they’ve been given the moniker of spiciest ice cream by Adam Gertler on the Food Network, and they include habaneros, tai chilis, pecan peppers, even ghost chili sauce. Try them at your own peril!
North Dakota: Dakota Drug Whirl-a-Whip
Getting your first Whirl-a-Whip at Dakota Drug is practically a right of passage in Stanley. You get your choice of toppings whirled right in front of you, from a menu of fruit and candy choices that also includes dill pickles and bacon. (We hear it’s delicious.) They also have the only remaining Whirl-a-Whip machine left in the country, and although it’s much like that used to make soft-serve cones with additions, the Whirl-a-Whip takes hard ice cream and whips it into soft, creamy deliciousness. Truly unique, and worth the trip. Now that you know what a Whirl-a-Whip is, find out what exactly a macchiato is too.
Ohio: Mitchell’s Ice Cream
This eight-location Ohio chain offers small-batch ice cream to travelers and Cleveland residents alike. All the ice cream options are kosher, and seasonal flavors are rotated in. For some local Buckeye flavor, Mitchell’s is the place to go, and you can even do a tour to find out exactly how they make the best ice cream in Ohio.
Oklahoma: Roxy’s Ice Cream Social
This Oklahoma City ice cream shop is so popular that it’s expanding into two other neighborhoods. Roxy’s colorful shop has outdoor seating and a variety of delicious flavors like Graham Cracker and Cookie Monster.
Oregon: Salt & Straw
West Coast residents, particularly those living in Portland, love Salt & Straw for its imaginative flavors. Visitors can try classics like Honey Lavender and Pear and Blue Cheese. The company is committed to using locally sourced ingredients, and locals like to visit the small business in their neighborhood. While you’re on the West Coast, why not try some fresh-caught sashimi?
Pennsylvania: Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor
Located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, Klavon’s sells locally sourced ice cream in its original location. Opened in 1923 as a neighborhood apothecary and ice cream shop, Klavon’s served ice cream until it closed in 1979. Twenty years later, the shop reopened, and the owners kept the sweet retro parlor with its marble countertops, Coca-Cola–like revolving stools, and wooden phone booths intact. Now, foodies travel to the burgeoning food scene in Pittsburgh for flavors like Blue Monster, Death by Chocolate, and Raspberry Yogurt.
Rhode Island: The Sweet Spot
Nothing says summer in Rhode Island like stopping at The Sweet Spot in Narragansett. The ice cream shop doubles as a pastry shop, and visitors can sit outside and watch fishing boats and ferries pass by while they enjoy their ice cream.
South Carolina: Sweet Cream Company
An acclaimed ice cream shop selling small-batch products, Sweet Cream Company boasts sophisticated flavors like Blueberry French Toast and Not Too Salty Pretzel. The downtown Columbia store doesn’t offer toppings to allow the “flavor of the ice cream itself to shine,” according to their website. Here’s a question: Would you say a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable flavor?
South Dakota: SDSU Dairy Bar
Like the University of Delaware, South Dakota State University manufactures its award-winning cow-to-cone ice cream. With more than 60 decadent flavors to choose from, like Apple Strudel, Peppermint Chocolate Chip, and Tangerine, visitors can taste the best ice cream in the state.
Tennessee: Mike’s Ice Cream
Mike’s Ice Cream delights anyone passing through Downtown Nashville. With flavors like Blackberry Cornbread, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and Tennessee Fudge, it’s not hard to see why Mike’s is considered the best ice cream for miles around.
Texas: Amy’s Ice Creams
Locals will emphatically tell you that Amy’s in Austin is the best place in the Lone Star State for ice cream. For 30 years, Amy’s has created more than 1,000 flavors, 350 of which are in a daily rotation, with what seems like just as many topping options. You can’t not go big in Texas, so travelers should swing by this groovy shop. There are also stores in Houston and San Antonio.
Utah: Brooker’s Founding Flavors Ice Cream
If you like your ice cream with a side of history, Brooker’s Founding Flavors in Vineyard is a must-visit. Customers can take the Liberty Bell Challenge (if you can beat the record to finish all 13 “colonies,” the sundae is free), or choose from flavors like Alexander Hamilton’s Not Throwing Away My Scoop, or George Mason’s Peanut Butter Bill of Rights. Let ice cream ring!
Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s
No one can visit Vermont without getting a cone from the original Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury. After all, the boys are known around the world as Vermont’s finest. Alongside classic flavors like Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, and Phish Food, Ben & Jerry’s has also continued updating its offerings, like the new slices and core pints. Vermont visitors should take a trip to the factory to see where it’s all made—and test out some samples. Want more regional flavors? Learn the best craft beer from each state.
Virginia: Carl’s Frozen Custard
This landmark curbside ice cream stand draws major crowds for its delicious soft-serve ice cream. The Fredericksburg location of Carl’s Frozen Custard, which is open only seasonally, is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Washington: SubZero Ice Cream and Yogurt
Vegans, diabetics, and those who are lactose intolerant should make their way to Washington for SubZero Ice Cream and Yogurt, which tailors to their needs. The ice cream is made right in front of travelers using liquid nitrogen. It’s definitely the coolest ice cream in town—and not just because it was featured on Shark Tank.
Washington, DC: Thomas Sweet Ice Cream
Standing proudly on a cute corner in Georgetown, this shop welcomes everyone from college students to the Secret Service. Although Thomas Sweet is known for its house-made ice creams and blend-ins, locals and visitors also flock to this ice cream shop for free coffee refills and a place to sit in the quaint DC neighborhood. While you’re sitting, do you know the difference between peppermint and spearmint?
West Virginia: Austin’s Homemade Ice Cream
This Kenova ice cream shop offers 28 flavors, such as cinnamon, lemon custard, and black walnut, to anyone passing through West Virginia. Austin’s also sells sherbet and sugar-free and seasonal ice creams, if that’s your preference.
Wisconsin: Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co.
Spread out in Wisconsin, the Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. has six locations for maximum access to ice cream. A Wisconsin mainstay since 1962, Chocolate Shoppe makes 100 different flavors of ice cream, such as horchata, Irish mint, and spumoni—flavors you’ll only find in Wisconsin!
Wyoming: Farson Mercantile
Home of the Big Cone, Farson Mercantile carries 20 flavors like bubblegum, maple nut, and strawberry cheesecake. The ice cream shop doesn’t just offer delicious dairy treats, though—they also have pizza, deli subs, and custom espresso drinks, plus a gift store that sells unique gifts and Wyoming apparel. Travelers are going to want to make a pit stop in Farson for a big cone (and we mean big). Now that you know the best ice cream in the U.S.A., you should be able to ace any food quiz.