Between "I," "you," and "We All," there’s a whole lot of screaming for ice cream that takes place in America. It’s a statistical fact that "we all" consume an average of 23 pounds of ice cream a year. Moreover, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the more we all eat ice cream, the more we tend to crave it. In other words, it’s like a very sweet and creamy, albeit fattening drug — which explains all those long line-ups in front of New England farms, Midwestern custard stands, and organic urban creameries.
Having made peace with our ice cream addiction, the next step is to take action — by getting the best fix possible. All 50 American states are abundant in ice cream shops. But with everyone screaming for ice cream, it can be hard to know where to go to satisfy your cravings.
Faced with this challenge, Mashed went to work, scouring national and local newspapers, journals, websites, food bibles and blogs, interviews with famous chefs, tips from local aficionados, ratings from Yelpers and Tripadvisors, and rankings from listicles. Based on all this online screaming about ice cream, we’ve compiled a list that, if not definitive, then very delicious, of the best ice cream shops in every state.
Alabama: Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe
Cammie’s ice cream is so good that one reviewer, "not even a huge fan" of c, visited the Mobile shop three times in eight days! Cammie Wayne makes the ice cream herself, having purchased the decade’s old parlor back in 1998 (after having cut her teeth there as a teen). Fabled rotating flavors include Prickly Pear, Creole Praline, and Red Velvet. No matter what you choose there, though, you know it’s going to be good.
Alaska: Wild Scoops
Who knew that, Arctic climes aside, Alaskans devour more ice cream per capita than any other state? Wild Scoops, for one. This unexpected factoid is on the Anchorage micro-creamery’s website, along with some of the more than 100 unique, all-natural flavors created in its test kitchen. Made in small batches, using locally sourced ingredients, flavors change as radically as the seasons and include the utterly Alaskan Fireweed, Spruce Tip, and Sitka Swirl (salted caramel with Alaskan sea salt). Perhaps wildest of all is the Baked Alaska, a waffle cone topped with torched marshmallow cream.
Arizona: Sweet Republic
Asked by The Phoenix Business Journal what title she’d give to her autobiography, Sweet Republic’s co-founder Jan Wichayanuparp replied: "Life is like a hundred flavors of ice cream, don’t always pick vanilla." The answer is fitting for this Scottsdale-based favorite, which artisanally elevates classics like Belgian Chocolate and Real Mint Chip while coaxing Arizonans to lick outside of the box with flavors like Black Sesame, not to mention the Toffee Banofi Sundae that famously bewitched Alton Brown.
Arkansas: Loblolly Creamery
Named after the state tree, Lolbolly’s ice creams gloriously fuse tried, true, and traditional with outrageously inventive. The creamery’s founding flavor is a rich Buttermilk, and it continues to drive traffic with old-school classics such as Banana Pudding and Coffee and Cream. How then to explain test-batch Advenchurn scoops such as Burnt Toast and Leftover Pizza? Aside from deliciousness, the common denominator is hyper-locality: Arkansan artisans, farms, and gardens provide ingredients and inspiration while everything from the marshmallows in the Little Rock-y Road to gluten-free/vegan cones is made in-house.
California: Bi-Rite Creamery
In this country-sized state, rich in creativity and foodie fads, it’s excruciatingly painful to choose just one best ice cream shop. However, once the pain subsides, there’s abundant joy in the San Fran creamery whose mantra is "scooping happiness every single day." Bi-Rite does so by using organic Double 8 Dairy, the butter fat content of which is off the charts. There are also the flavors that have launched cookbooks and copycat recipes: Black Sesame, Ricanelas, Roasted Banana, and the much lusted-after, "wildly complex" Salted Caramel.
Colorado: Little Man Ice Cream
In Denver, the original Little Man ice cream shop is housed within a giant 28-foot-tall milk can and its recently completed "Willy Wonka-esque" factory/tasting room, accessed through a walk-in freezer, is designed to replicate an industrial ice cream churn. Both sites cry out to be Instagrammed. And yet the inevitable line-ups are less about photo ops than signature flavors such as Salted Oreo and 16th St. Chocolate, scooped into crispy homemade waffle cones and sprinkled with textured toppings.
Connecticut: Ferris Acres Creamery
May the source be with you! It certainly is if you get your ice cream fix at this Newtown creamery, which is where Connecticuters will send you to savor the alliterative likes of Cowabunga Crunch and Mocha Mayhem in the company of grazing cows. Three generations of the Ferris family are involved in making the on-site ice cream as well as sorbets and ice cream pies. Seasonal offerings are particularly comforting, with Caramel Apple Pie announcing the arrival of fall and Eggnog providing cheer in the depths of winter.
Delaware: Woodside Farm Creamery
Recognized as one of the oldest remaining farms in America’s first state, Woodside Farm is perhaps even more celebrated for its scoops. Woodside’s ice cream relies on the fresh milk of its Jersey cows, milked nightly (and manually) by descendants of the Mitchells who founded the dairy farm in 1796. The freshness of the ingredients is impressive — a family saying is "A couple of weeks ago our ice cream was grass" — but so are historically winning flavor combinations such as Chocolate Peanut Butter, Black Raspberry Chip, and Butter Brickle.
Florida: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant
Established in 1956, this family-owned Dania Beach institution is all about epicness: the vast collection of American memorabilia, the run-on menus, and the heaping portions of homemade ice cream. Flavors are as old-school as the parlor itself and can be enjoyed on waffles, and in shakes, splits, floats, and goblets. The downright monumental sundaes culminate in The Kitchen Sink. A minimum of four gluttons is recommended to attack the pound-per-person scoops of ice cream heaped with toppings, lit up with a sparkler — and served in an actual kitchen sink!
Georgia: Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream
When Morelli’s husband-and-wife founders traded a livelihood in pharmaceutical sales for a love of ice cream-making, they had no idea that within a year, their Atlanta parlor would be named the fourth best ice cream shop in America by Bon Appétit. Morelli’s flavors tap into various cravings, including childhood nostalgia (PBJ Sandwich), refined sophistication (Strawberry Rosewater) and Southern comfort (Krispy Kreamier, made with real donut chunks!). The most popular flavor, Original Salted Caramel, is also the most heavily guarded (only two staff members having access to the secret recipe).
Hawaii might be famed for its macadamia nuts, but (so far) it’s also one of the only American states that commercially produces its own coffee. Headquartered on Kauai (where it churns its creams and roasts its beans), Lappert’s traffics deliciously in both. In addition to popular flavors such as Kona Coffee, Macadamia Nut, and Kauai Pie (which fuses both along with coconut and fudge), it serves affogatos in which ice cream gets a proper drowning in a double shot of espresso. Erupting in molten sauces, sundaes, such as the Ka’Au Crater Hot Fudge Bomb, are downright volcanic.
Idaho: The STIL
As an acronym, STIL stands for the Sweetest Things in Life. As Boise’s most creative creamery-cum-bar, The STIL has earned fame and five-star reviews for unusually creamy ice cream and unusually creative flavors such as Easy Like Sunday Morning (espresso and caramel) and Sweater Weather (pumpkin and toasted marshmallow). Perhaps most unusual is the menu of boozy flavors for the over-21 set. Think Raspberry Cabernet Sauvignon Sorbet, a.k.a "Purple Rain." The adult fun extends to The STIL’s brilliant pairing of its scoops with "flights" of local beers and wines.
Illinois: Margie’s Candie’s
Even celebrity gangsters succumb to sweet cravings. Back in the day, Chicago’s prodigal son, Al Capone, would get his sugar fix at Margie’s, where he sat in the leather booths (far from exposed windows). Founded in 1921, this Chicago institution still serves up vintage ice cream sodas, splits, and floats made from its marble soda fountain. However, pride of place goes to the dependably decadent ice cream sundaes. The classic scoops are awash in Lake Michigan-worthy pools of homemade hot fudge and/or caramel sauce and served in a signature white clamshell dish.
BRICS stands for "Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station." If this acronym still doesn’t make sense, know that it’s all about a (highly sustainable) ice cream shop, located in Indianapolis’ historic Monon Railway Station. Since it was originally referred to as "Broad Ripple Station," the original locale is a fitting (and charming) place to savor the creamy, hand-dipped likes of Amaretto Cherry rippled with thick fudge and chocolate rippled with peanut butter, served in waffle cones.
Iowa: Snookie’s Malt Shop
As one of America’s leading producers of ice cream (Iowa State U even has an ice cream-making program), Iowa has no shortage of stands, shacks, and parlors. Snookie’s is a mom-and-pop-style roadside favorite in Des Moines that’s been dishing out frosty treats since 1986. Aside from Arctic blasts, shakes, slushes, and the famous namesake malts, it’s the signature soft serve, dipped and/or topped with everything from animal crackers to sour worms that has fans literally camped out before opening day (alas! Snookie’s closes in the winter).
Kansas: Sylas and Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream
They say you can inhale the fragrance of freshly baked waffle cones before even setting foot inside Lawrence’s favorite ice cream shop. The cones are made daily, as is the ice cream. To date, 150 flavors have been invented, many inspired by suggestions from devoted customers. The devotion seemingly stems from Sylas and Maddy’s generosity: When they make watermelon sherbet, an entire watermelon gets tossed into the ice cream machine. Ditto for the pie-based flavors — Cherry Cobbler, Key Lime, Banana Cream — each batch receiving a whole, highly recommended, pie.
Kentucky: Crank & Boom Ice Cream
The wife-and-husband duo behind Crank & Boom started making ice cream out of a Cuisinart for their Thai restaurant in Lexington. When they realized that many customers came just for a scoop, they got wise and opened an ice cream lounge in the historic Distillery District. All ingredients are locally sourced, then cranked into "BOOM-in-your-face" signature flavors such as Bourbon and Honey and Kentucky Blackberry & Buttermilk. And the lounge is no misnomer: You can (and should) kick back with boozy floats and scoop-topped cocktails doused with local bourbons, stouts, and praline and cream liqueur.
Louisiana: Creole Creamery
Universal acclaim for the Creole Creamery means you don’t have to sweat the decision as to where to satisfy your dairy cravings in the Big Easy. The decor is as retro as fountain-shop classics including floats, splits, and sundaes (acrophobics should steer clear of the Sky Scraper). But the flavors are decidedly vanguard: Pear & Balsamic Caramel, White Chocolate Truffled Popcorn, Grapefruit & Campari. A Sampler gets you four scoops, one of which needs to be Creole Cream Cheese, the signature flavor made with the sweet and creamy NOLA specialty.
Maine: Rococo Artisan Ice Cream
When a reviewer praised Rococo for being "always patient with chronic tasters," he underscored the best and the worst about this Kennebunkport hot spot. Rococo is operated by a tenth-generation Mainer who learned all about artisanal ice cream at the other end of the world (in Argentina). The much-lauded results of such lessons are ice cream with strikingly dense textures and distilled flavors. In theory, this sounds great, but the sheer number and inventiveness of the flavors — Sweet Avocado Cayenne, Molasses Gingersnap, and Goat Cheese with Whiskey & Figs — make decisions excruciatingly difficult.
Maryland: The Charmery
Ice cream is a pretty big deal in Maryland, which actually has its own Ice Cream Trail. A non-negotiable stop on that trail is Baltimore’s The Charmery, whose owners make creative use of thoughtfully sourced ingredients and dairy from hormone-free "happy" cows. Although they maintain a handful of "Always" flavors, such as the ultra-chocolatey Maryland Mud, there’s a lot of fun to be had with whimsical and seasonal inventions such as Baklava, Old Bay Caramel, and Cheese and Crackers (made with Cheddar and Ritz crackers).
Massachusetts: Toscanini’s Ice Cream
Toscanini’s started life as an early ’80s communal dream when a bunch of Cambridge pals set out to make and sell ice cream. "Tosci’s" quickly became a beloved student hang-out, but once The New York Times declared it "The World’s Best Ice Cream," there was no churning back. Many of Tosci’s unique flavors are suggested by its regulars, yielding worldly wonders such as Khulfee (cardamom, pistachios, and almonds). Satisfy homeland hankerings with B3 (brown sugar, brown butter, brownie) and Burnt Caramel, which famously inspired a paean in The Atlantic.
Michigan: Moomers Homemade Ice Cream
When ice cream’s on the table, Michiganers believe in heading to the source, which in the case of Moomers is an idyllic Traverse City dairy farm. Tables overlooking namesake moo-ing cows are ideal for savoring freshly churned scoops served in cones, cups, flights, sandwiches, and sundaes. With over 160 flavors, decision-making can be rough. Blessedly, Moomer’s version of Holy Communion, the Wholey Cow, features ten scoops along with every topping on the farm. Since Traverse City is also a source for cherries, make sure at least one choice is cherry-centric: Cherries Moobilee is highly recommended.
Minnesota: Izzy’s Ice Cream
"It’s a tiny top hat-like scoop of ice cream that you can order of top of any cone, giving you the joy of two flavors in a much more manageable format." The description is from award-winning pastry chef, Stella Parks, and the scoop is only one of 200 creatively creamy possibilities offered by Twin City’s Izzy’s. Even factoring in the "Izzy scoop," you’ll still be tortured by all the choices, which include the likes of Norwegian Chai and Umeshu Chocolate (a blend of cocoa and Japanese plum wine).
Mississippi: Area 51 Ice Cream
Apart from a certain off-the-beaten-track-ness, this compact ice cream shop tucked away in a Hernando strip mall shares no obvious similarities to the original, alien-infested Area 51. However, taking a bite out of any of the small-batch, handmade flavors on offer is commonly described as an out-of-this-world experience. Flavors arrive and vanish without warning due to a reliance on whatever’s fresh at the Hernando Farmers’ Market, but repeat visitors include Saigon Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Lemon Icebox, and Blackberry Goat Cheese.
Missouri: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Missouri gave birth to the ice cream cone, which is the state’s official dessert. Given its historical prominence, it’s fitting that Ted Drewes, which started life in the early 1930s as a frozen custard stand, is still king of the scoop according to locals. Although the ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, and absurd number of toppings earn rave reviews, it’s the "Concrete" that put Ted Drewes on the map (and according to Thrillist, "changed America"). True to its name, this frozen custard treat is so thick that it’s served upside down.
Montana: Big Dipper Ice Cream
The line-ups to this Missoula walk-up shop ice cream shop are as lengthy as the accolades it’s received over the years for its tasty, homemade scoops. Unpretentious, unadulterated, but never underrated permanent flavors include Mexican Chocolate, White Mint Oreo, and Black Licorice, with a special shout-out for Huckleberry (and riffs such as Huckleberry Mint Oreo), which take advantage of the local berry bounty.
Nebraska: Coneflower Creamery
Omaha ice cream lovers are wild about this farm-to-cone creamery where everything you can sink your teeth into is fresh, high-quality, and locally sourced. The scoops menu changes according to the seasons, with flavors catering to both classicists (Cookies and Cream, Dark Chocolate) and experimentalists (Saffron and Caramelized White Chocolate, Sweet Corn). And Coneflower doesn’t skimp on the extras: All the waffle cones, mix-ins, sauces, and toppings — such as brownies, graham crumble, and even the rainbow sprinkles — are made on-site by an in-house pastry chef.
Nevada: Steve’s Homemade Ice Cream
The Steve of Steve’s Homemade Ice Cream mastered the art of ice-cream making as a teenager, working weekends at a 1930s Staten Island soda shop. Later, he followed his parents to Nevada, setting up Fernley’s first ice cream parlor. According to Yelp, countless Nevadans eagerly drive miles through the desert for refreshment that comes from constantly changing flavors, including a popular Brownie Batter and a variety of heat-beating Italian ices in fruity flavors such as Blue Raspberry and Tangerine.
New Hampshire: Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream
Headquartered in Portsmouth, this waterfront favorite hews true to the "natural" in its name: All its ice creams are made with fresh cream and cane sugar, without an artificial color in sight. If Annabelle’s scoops seem thicker, richer, and creamier than the norm, churn it up to the generous levels of butter fat (16.5 percent), the better with which to scarf down popular flavors such as Cashew Caramel Cluster, Mint Summer’s Night Dream, and (in the summer) Black Raspberry.
New Jersey: The Bent Spoon
It’s the sign of a revolution when an eight-year-old walks into an ice cream shop and requests a scoop of Basil and Ricotta. Such revolutionary acts are the day-to-day norm at Princeton’s Bent Spoon, where many of the over 550 rotating ice creams and sorbets depend upon the fleeting flavors of the season grown by local farmers as well as the experimentalism of the founders. Loyal clients have come to anticipate Sun Gold Saffron sorbet in summer and Shiitake Mushroom ice cream in the fall. They’ve also learned that veggies as well as fruit can yield decadent desserts.
New Mexico: La Lecheria
Santa Fe chef Joel Coleman learned to appreciate things cool and creamy from running the local gastropub Fire and Hops. Coleman routinely trolls the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market in search of fresh, all-natural ingredients that find their way into refreshing ice cream flavors such as Citrus Basil, Coconut Miso, and Sweet Corn. That said, heat and spice aren’t entirely excluded from the proceedings. Green Chile, Brown Sugar Red Chile, and Mole are signature scoops that have plenty of spark.
New York: OddFellow Ice Cream
New Yorkers are justifiably passionate (and partial) about everything from baseball to pizza, so why should ice cream be any different? According to top NYC chef Matthew Hyland, what sets OddFellows’ ice cream apart is the texture, a peerless creaminess that transforms potentially bland vanilla into sweet sublimeness (it helps that three kinds of vanilla are used). Chef/creator Sam Mason also excels at creating unorthodox sweet-savory flavors such as Black Pepper Fig and Miso Cherry and treats such as OddPockets, ice cream sandwiched into a buttery brioche.
North Carolina: Surfin’ Spoon
Everything about this frozen yogurt bar is chill: the beachy Nag’s Head location, the interior (decked out with throw pillows and foosball), and the mellow owners (a professional surfer and an artist), not to mention the froyo itself. Several seasonal flavors are on tap at any time, in low- and no-fat versions, waiting to be topped off at the bar with everything from fresh fruit to cheesecake bites. There are also vegan soft serve, gelato, sorbet, and heavenly (and still moderately healthy) ice cream sandwiches in flavors such as Lemon Lavberry and Killa Key Lime.
North Dakota: Pride Dairy
North Dakota’s last small-town creamery has gallons of historical cred. The Bottineau creamery began churning out dairy products in the 1930s. Happily, not much has changed with the passing decades. Pride Dairy’s ice cream continues buttery and rich. Dependable flavors such as Thomas Jefferson Vintage Vanilla, Rhubarb-Strawberry, Butter Brickle, and Juneberry still earn accolades. If you’re ever hanging out in North Dakota, it’s definitely worth a stop.
Ohio: Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream
It’s one thing to serve completely sustainable ice cream and quite another to make it completely delicious. Cleveland-based Mitchell’s pulls off both feats with natural, organic flair from its solar-paneled, skylit, rainwater-harvested headquarters in a renovated silent movie theater. Watch the pros at work integrating quality produce from local farmers and fair trade global partners before sampling flavors such as Bing Cherry Chocolate Chunk, Wildberry Crumble, and the brilliant Blue Cosmo (blue cotton candy with homemade marshmallow swirl).
Oklahoma: Roxy’s Ice Cream Social
Roxy’s started off as an ice cream truck, named after the husband-and-wife owners’ beloved Great Dane. It wasn’t long before affection for both the scoops and the pooch transformed Roxy’s into Oklahoma City’s most beloved ice cream shop. Customers go particularly nuts over no-nonsense flavors such as subtly sweet Pistachio and crunchy Pecan (which gets exponentially better when topped with candied pecans). S’mores Sundaes, Dreamsicle Floats, and the Cookie Monster Sandwich have also become local ice cream lovers’ best friends.
Oregon: Salt & Straw
If you think Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon & Eggs ice cream sounds like the epitome of stunt food, think again. It’s merely one of the seemingly outlandish but seriously delicious flavors that have made Portland-based Salt & Straw one of the best cult ice cream makers in America. With everyone from award-winning chefs to Portland elementary school kids in on the creative process, the flavor possibilities — including permanent faves Pear & Blue Cheese, Honey Lavender, and Arbequina Olive Oil — are endless. Although it’s expanded beyond Oregon, Salt & Straw’s proud roots and dedicated use of local produce make it a quintessentially Portland treat.
Pennsylvania: Fox Meadows Creamery
Best scoop competitions are notoriously tight in a state known for its Ice Cream Trail, ice cream university courses, not to mention over 5,700 dairy farms. So when Fox Meadows ranks number one on the list of 26 top creameries, it’s time to head to Ephrata for an appetizing cow-to-cone experience. Down on the farm, rural flavors dominate, albeit with creative twists that result in Lemon Crunch, Pumpkin Crème Brûlè, and Brown Butter Almond. Request a Baked Fox, and your scoop will come wrapped in a warm brownie or cookie.
Rhode Island: Tricycle Ice Cream
Providence’s favorite frosty treats began life being hawked from a traveling tricycle cart (still in existence despite the opening of a brick-and-mortar location). Although the small-batch ice cream is terrific on its own, it gets even better when sandwiched between two cookies — or in a dessert taco! Appetizing examples include Callebaut Chocolate ice cream sandwiched between Salty Pretzel Cookies and a Peanut Butter Ice Cream Taco topped with Oreos. For a lighter bite, try the Push Pops in flavors such as Passion Fruit Mimosa.
South Carolina: Sweet Cream Co.
The first thing you need to know about Columbia’s Sweet Cream Company is that no toppings are allowed, the better with which to let "the natural flavors shine through." And these aren’t just any natural ice cream flavors. Believing that "boundaries need to be pushed," Sweet Cream dexterously shoves together Cherry Coke and Lemon Poppy Seed as well as Orange Peel with Panna Cotta. Between these boundary-busting pairings and the deliciously buttery waffle cones and homemade cookies they’re served in, you’ll forget there even is such a thing as toppings.
South Dakota: Leones’ Creamery
The Black Hills town of Spearfish attracts adventurers year-round. While some come to hike and bike and others to rock climb or snowshoe, few can resist venturing into family-owned Leones’ Creamery, housed within the historic City Hall building. Overturning expectations regarding small-town American ice cream flavors, Leones’ re-edits the classics while challenging customers to explore off-the-beaten track flavors such as Peanut Butter Curry and Blueberry Goat’s Cheese.
Tennessee: Pied Piper Creamery
Merely perusing the daily flavors list at this award-winning Nashville artisanal creamery is more fun than many ice cream experiences. Flavors tend towards the punny (Aww Shnapps, Oreo Speedwagon) and may compel you to order just for the thrill of saying "Eat Your Heart Out, Elvis", out loud. The scoops themselves are more outrageously creative than their names imply. Life Is a Cabernet infuses pear sorbet with a cabernet reduction. Trailer Trash is an almost obscene mélange of vanilla with Oreos, Twix, Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, and M&Ms, which is nonetheless deemed "sublime."
Texas: Lick Honest Ice Creams
There’s nothing fake about the "Honest" in this Austin-based creamery’s name. The founders, both from rural areas, take the authenticity of their locally sourced, natural ingredients seriously. They’re adamant that everything from sauces and syrups to cookies and marshmallows is made in-house, from scratch. Yet Lick Honest’s flavors are the antithesis of staid and somber. "Regular" flavors include Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint, and Texas Sheet Cake. Even wilder are seasonal selections: Orange Plumsicle and the shop’s founding ice cream flavor, Cilantro Lime, said to taste "like Texas in the summer."
Utah: Rockwell Ice Cream
For decades, Utah’s Brigham Young and Utah State universities have been ice cream as well as football rivals. But even alumni admit that upstart Rockwell’s super-premium, slow-churned ice creams are "the best" in the state. In addition to upping the creamy denseness of its scoops with 16 percent dairy fat, Rockwell’s carefully sourced flavors pop. Locals love regulars such as Rockwell Road, Brown Butter Pecan, and Honeycomb, but national acclaim came with The G.O.A.T. — goat cheese, blackberries, lemon jam swirls, and honey rosemary roasted almonds — named the Best Ice Cream in America in 2019.
Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s
Even though it’s gone global, Ben & Jerry’s heart, soul, and roots are unabashedly Vermont. Way back in the early 1980s, the ice cream pioneer radically altered the ice-cream experience by mixing meteorite-sized chunks of everything including brownies, cookie dough, and fish-shaped fudge into its rich scoops. While you can get iconic flavors such as Cherry Garcia, Mint Chocolate Cookie, and Chunky Monkey everywhere from Aruba to the United Arab Emirates, the best place on the planet to savor them is at B&J’s Burlington scoop shop.
Virginia: Island Creamery
Since 1975, not even Chincoteague Island’s legendary wild horses have been able to tear hungry customers away from the scrumptious small-batch ice cream scoops hand-crafted at the Island Creamery with fresh milk and fruit from local farms. Fitting for an island outpost, the most popular flavors conjure up the carefree pleasures of a beach holiday: Marsh Mud, Bourbon Caramel Crunch, and Pony Tracks, a PB and (homemade) fudge extravaganza named in honor of the island’s second biggest attraction.
Washington: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Molly Moon’s has been called the "doyenne of Seattle’s modern ice cream scene," no mean feat in a city known for its cutting-edge scoops. At Molly’s, the local-er, the better. Supposedly, the farthest away they’ll go for fruit is Napa Valley (for blood oranges). There’s a lot of love for the ten "always" flavors such as Cold Brew Coffee and ‘Scout’ Mint (made with crushed Girl Scout cookies purchased from bonafide scouts!). Seasonal flavors rely upon Northwestern bounty — Vegan Sweet Mint, Lemon Blueberry Custard — and are eagerly awaited.
West Virginia: Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream
A Charleston favorite since 1997, Ellen’s ice creams, sherbets, gelatos, and sorbets have won a heaping dose of state and national acclaim over the years. As a flutist with the West Virginia Symphony, founder Ellen Beal learned to be as deftly creative in composing unusual riffs on classic flavors. Pink Panther is a symphony of raspberry, orange, and cassis. JQ Dickinson Salted Caramel is made with hand-harvested sea salt deposited beneath the Appalachians by an ancient ocean.
Wisconsin: Kopp’s Frozen Custard
Considering that Wisconsin is frozen custard country and Milwaukee is "The Custard Capital," Kopp’s is the state’s reigning monarch. Following its 1950 inauguration, it was only a decade before Kopp’s felt omnipotent enough to branch out beyond the custard realm’s two standard flavors — chocolate and vanilla — by creating the "flavor of the day" (and havoc in the custard community). Decades later, these rotating daily flavors have ventured into deliciously adventurous terrain: Bavarian Wedding Cake, German Apple Streusel, and the always-anticipated Cashew Caramel are just a few possibilities, available straight-up, shaken up, or as a sundae.
Wyoming: Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Moo’s gets near unanimous rave reviews from the foodie press as Wyoming’s best scoop, and it’s easy to see why. The Jackson Hole parlor uses all organic cream (no milk) in its rich ice creams, which makes them taste creamy and delicious. All this organic goodness and a healthy dose of natural ingenuity results in singular flavors such as Cashew Brittle Crunch, Prickly Pear, and Zonker Stout (made from a local malt), not to mention the one that gets completely unanimous raves: Wild Huckleberry.