50 Ice Cream Shops With Unique Treats Across the Country

Variety of ice cream cones


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Variety of ice cream cones

Sweet Dreams

When it's time to get your licks in these days, there's no need to stick with the old standbys of vanilla and chocolate or even cookie dough and cookies and cream. Whether they're soft-serve or hard-packed, the flavors at these 50 ice cream shops range from blue cheese, habanero, and wasabi to bourbon, beer, and lobster. The very thought of some of these unique ice cream treats is almost enough to give you brain freeze.

Related: The Surprising History of Ice Cream Trucks

Trowbridge's Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop

Trowbridge's Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop

Florence, Alabama
Locals flock to Trowbridge's Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop, a historic ice cream shop-turned-lunch-counter, for scoops of orange-pineapple ice cream, the signature flavor created in the early 1900s. Feeling ambitious? Try an old-fashioned ice cream soda, too.

Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream
Alyssa M./Yelp

Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream

Fairbanks, Alaska
Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream has been making small-batch, super-premium ice cream since 1986. Many flavors are locally inspired, such as Alaska blueberry, made with handpicked wild blueberries from interior Alaska, and Arctic Refuge Wildberry Snap, a vanilla ice cream base with ginger snaps and equal parts Alaska blueberry and cranberry purée swirled in. Expect 15 or so rotating flavors at any given time.

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Sweet Republic in Scottsdale, Arizona
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Sweet Republic

Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona
Offbeat flavors reign supreme at Sweet Republic, which specializes in artisan, handcrafted creations such as sweet corn, strawberry buttermilk, and Earl Grey tea. Homemade hand-torched marshmallow can top any sundae for a small additional charge.

Shake's Frozen Custard in Little Rock, Arkansas
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Shake's Frozen Custard

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Egg yolk is the key ingredient giving Shake's Frozen Custard its thick, creamy consistency. This Fayetteville, Arkansas-based chain serves it up in every form imaginable, from sundaes such as the Bopper (with caramel, hot fudge, roasted pecans, and three cherries) to shakes, cakes, floats, and concretes (frozen custard blended with toppings).

Related: Best Soft Serve Ice Cream Shops in America

Bi-Rite Creamery
Angela L./Yelp

Bi-Rite Creamery

San Francisco
There are usually about 20 different offerings at Bi-Rite Creamery, a popular shop with two locations in San Francisco. Flavors such as roasted banana, honey lavender, black sesame, and balsamic strawberry are presented in cups, pints or quarts.

Sweet Cow Ice Cream in Louisville, Colorado
Kellie A./Yelp

Sweet Cow Ice Cream

Savor unlimited samples when deciding on a flavor at Sweet Cow Ice Cream, which also has locations in Louisville and Boulder. Choices range from oatmeal cookie and Ozo coffee (made with beans from a Boulder coffee house) to the more adventurous Fruity Pebbles and Nerds Nerds Nerds made with the well-loved candy. House-made waffle cones and fresh whipped cream step up the experience.

Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream in Griswold, Connecticut
Joe C./Yelp

Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream

Griswold, Connecticut
You can't get much closer to the source than a dairy farm. Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream serves up ice cream from a walk-up window from March through October. Go when thousands of giant sunflowers are in bloom (call for dates) and enjoy your dessert with a beautiful view.

Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin, Delaware
Laura M./Yelp

Woodside Farm Creamery

Hockessin, Delaware
Woodside Farm Creamery has been a family-operated dairy farm since 1796. Ice cream is made fresh on the farm from the milk of the resident Jersey cows, and flavors include "motor oil" (coffee with green caramel and fudge swirl), "dirt" (chocolate ice cream with crushed Oreos and gummy worms) and Butter Brickle (butter ice cream with toffee pieces).

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour
Aleah H./Yelp

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour

Dania Beach, Florida
Ice cream at the nostalgia-themed Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour is made on site with plenty of flavors to pick from, with cinnamon and lime flavors known to make appearances. Parties of four or more with a large appetite can order the Kitchen Sink: about a pound of ice cream per person with your choice of flavors, topped with cherries, bananas, mixed nuts, whipped cream and sparklers.

Related: The Best of Florida on a Budget

Leopold's Ice Cream in Savannah, Georgia
Olivia F./Yelp

Leopold's Ice Cream

Savannah, Georgia
Founded in 1919 by three brothers from Greece, Leopold's Ice Cream is one of the oldest ice cream shops in America, and it has a reputation for super-premium ice cream made from recipes handed down through the generations. Order a seasonal flavor such as cherry blossom, lavender, or habanero sugar.

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert in Honolulu, Hawaii
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Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert

The reason to visit Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert is the mochi ice cream. This Hawaiian dessert spot makes 20 flavors of the confection, a ball of ice cream encased in sweetened rice, including green tea and passion fruit. Chocolate lovers can try the triple chocolate mochi or one of six other chocolate-wrapped flavors.

Reed's Dairy in Idaho Falls, Idaho
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Reed's Dairy

Idaho Falls, Idaho
This working dairy farm with retail ice cream sales is an easy stop off Interstate 15. Saveur magazine has paid tribute to the "almost supernaturally sumptuous" and "sometimes unorthodox" flavors. The huckleberry ice cream, made from Idaho's state fruit, is a must.

Margie's Candies in Chicago, Illinois
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Margie's Candies

A Chicago institution, the old-fashioned ice cream shop Margie's Candies has a massive selection of sundae options using all-natural, all-kosher ingredients. Feeling decadent? The turtle sundae has two big scoops of ice cream topped with peanuts, caramel sauce, whipped cream, a cherry, and a gravy boat of fudge brownie sauce on the side.

Related: 25 Candymakers With Treats Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Ivanhoe's in Upland, Indiana
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Upland, Indiana
Halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, the Indiana landmark Ivanhoe's serves more than 100 different sundaes and 100 shake variations. Don't know what to pick? Try the Snack Attack Sundae with Kit Kat bar, Spanish peanuts, hot fudge, and caramel or, for a unique twist on a favorite, the peanut butter and jelly shake.

Whitey's Ice Cream in Moline, Iowa
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Whitey's Ice Cream

Davenport, Iowa
Sweet, cold treats at Whitey's Ice Cream have been making customers happy since 1933, when the first store opened across the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois. Now the chain has locations throughout the Quad Cities. Among the enticing seasonal choices, such as lemon in summer and carrot cake in fall, is Sgt. Camo, a camouflage-patterned ice cream made from graham cracker and marshmallow ice creams with a ribbon of fudge. 

Andy K.//Yelp


Emporia, Kansas
Braum's claims to be the only major ice cream maker in the country to milk its own cows — and guarantees optimum freshness by opening stores only within a 300-mile radius of its farm. While freshness is serious business, flavors are not. Try the snickerdoodle or the birthday cake, an electric-blue confection with ribbons of marshmallow and pieces of pound cake throughout.

Chaney's Dairy Farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Martha N./Yelp

Chaney's Dairy Farm

Bowling Green, Kentucky
Made on the premises in a barn owned by the family since 1888, Chaney's Dairy Farm serves up the classics with a few unique twists. Try the bourbon crunch for a sweet taste of Kentucky's beloved whiskey, or the big red rumble with red velvet cake.

Creole Creamery in New Orleans, Louisiana
Jennifer C./Yelp

Creole Creamery

New Orleans
With flavors such as Thai basil coconut, king cake, and champagne violet, it's hard to choose only one. That may be why the menu at Creole Creamery includes the Tchoupitoulas. With eight scoops of ice cream and a choice of eight toppings served with whipped cream, sprinkles, cherries, and wafers, this sundae named after a local street is more than a mouthful. Those who finish it without help earn a spot in the store's hall of fame.

Related: 26 Best Cheap Or Free Things To Do In New Orleans

Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium
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Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium

Bar Harbor, Maine
While Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium carries the usual suspects when it comes to ice cream, it created one flavor to prove the ice cream really is made in-house at the Bar Harbor store: lobster. Cooked lobster meat from a local lobster pound is chopped, buttered, and folded into butter-flavored ice cream.

Moorenko's Ice Cream in Silver Spring, Maryland
Max C./Yelp

Moorenko's Ice Cream

Silver Spring, Maryland
While grown-ups may gravitate toward the crème fraiche or Irish stout flavors, Moorenko's Ice Cream has one flavor that's likely to be a big hit with the kids: cotton candy gummy bear. It isn't always on the menu at the small ice cream parlor, but look for it when little ones are begging for a sugar hit.

Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville, Massachusetts
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Four Seas Ice Cream

Centerville, Massachusetts
With 16 percent butterfat in its ice cream, Four Seas serves up decadent treats to Cape Cod residents and tourists. For a taste of local flavor, try the cranberry sherbet, but the ginger, penuche pecan, and black raspberry ice creams are tasty too.

Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City, Michigan
Jennifer L./Yelp

Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream

Traverse City, Michigan
Located on a dairy farm, the family-run Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream entices customers with the salty-sweet flavor combo of peanut butter Oreo as well as Cherries Moobilee, a black cherry ice cream with fresh cherries, chocolate fudge swirl, and brownies.

Milkjam Creamery ice cream
Milkjam Creamery ice cream

Milkjam Creamery

Milkjam is the spot for foodies with a sweet tooth. Get your ice cream fix with inventive flavors like Ridin' Duuurty (Oreo milk, with Oreo chunks and peanut butter) and Hard Knock Life 2.0 (dar chocolate with salted chocolate fudge, Whoppers and brownies). Need a nightcap? You can add rum, bourbon, or Irish cream liqueur to one of Milkjam's amazing shakes.

Related: 13 Boozy Milkshake Recipes You're Going to Love

Area 51 Ice Cream
Phillip S./Yelp

Area 51 Ice Cream

Hernando, Mississippi
From blackberry to caramelized banana, every flavor is a winner at Area 51 Ice Cream. The artisan ice cream is made in small batches and the flavors change daily, so if a favorite such as maple with candied bacon pops up, order a scoop while it's around.

Carlos U./Yelp

Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream

Columbia, Missouri

One Missouri ice cream shop known for their unconventional flavors once took advantage of cicada mating season and blended the jumping insects into ice cream with brown sugar and milk chocolate. The reportedly delicious first batch sold out almost immediately, but the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health issued a warning before they could make a second. Not to worry, though — Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream still has noteworthy flavor alternatives like red velvet cake batter, candy apple and Nutella coconut almond cake.

Ted and Wally's Premium Homemade Ice Cream in Omaha, Nebraska
Aditi D./Yelp

Ted and Wally's Premium Homemade Ice Cream

Omaha, Nebraska
The old-school parlor Ted and Wally's Premium Homemade Ice Cream makes super-premium, up to 20 percent butterfat ice cream from scratch. The flavors number a whopping 1,600 and some, such as circus popcorn and Nebraska sweet corn, are found nowhere else.

Luv-It Frozen Custard in Las Vegas, Nevada
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Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Sharon C./Yelp

Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream has more than 30 flavors of natural, super-premium ice cream, so picking just one can be tough. Chocolate and nut lovers are sure to like the cleverly named Mint Summer's Night Dream (mint-chocolate ice cream with dark and white chocolate) and Swiss Chocolate Avalanche with pecans, walnuts, chocolate almonds, chocolate chunks and a marshmallow swirl.

The Bent Spoon

The Bent Spoon

Princeton, New Jersey
For unusual ice cream, head to The Bent Spoon. Think creative and seasonal flavors such as ricotta pistachio, dark chocolate cardamom orange, and lavender mascarpone.

I Scream Ice Cream
Daniel L./Yelp

I Scream Ice Cream

Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Albuquerque staple I Scream Ice Cream is known for its cornucopia of 32 flavors, such as rum black cherry and raspberry chocolate chunk, and 32 toppings, including Fruit Loops and Hot Tamales. The first topping is free.

Ample Hills Creamery in New York
Julie M./Yelp

Ample Hills Creamery

Brooklyn, New York
The Brooklyn-based ice cream chain Ample Hills Creamery specializes in "whimsical" flavors such as Oooey Gooey Butter Cake and Salted Cracked Caramel. The ice cream base of each flavor is pasteurized on site, allowing for pretzel-infused ice cream in The Munchies and marshmallow-infused ice cream in the Snap, Mallow, Pop flavor.

Related: 50 Free and Cheap Things to Do in New York City

The Parlour in Durham, North Carolina
LoveToEat Z./Yelp

The Parlour

Durham, North Carolina
The Parlour in Durham uses high-quality ingredients ranging from Nielsen-Massey vanilla paste and Callebaut chocolate to fresh blueberries and real ginger purée. Any flavor will stand out, from Vietnamese Coffee to Summer Corn with Blueberry Jam

Pride Dairy in Bottineau, North Dakota

Pride Dairy

Bottineau, North Dakota
The silky-smooth ice cream at Pride Diary is so good that Canadians have been known to cross the border for a cone. Try the juneberry, a local favorite, with the fruit used in the ice cream picked fresh in the nearby Turtle Mountains.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Ohio
Jackie S./Yelp

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Columbus, Ohio
The gourmet ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is made from local, grass-fed cows' milk and all natural ingredients. The chain's scoop shops serve delectable treats such as goat cheese with red cherries, sweet cream biscuits and peach jam, and "tangier than expected" lemon buttermilk frozen yogurt.

Scoops and Grinds
Debra K./Yelp

Scoops and Grinds

Collinsville, Oklahoma
Flavors such as candied bacon and brownie batter put the small-town ice cream shop Scoops and Grinds on the map, but don't stop there. Try a scoop of Little Boy Blue (blue cotton candy) or a pumpkin pie shake.

Salt and Straw in Oregon
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Salt and Straw

Portland, Oregon
Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero and Pear & Blue Cheese are a few of the uncommon standouts at the buzzy ice cream shop Salt and Straw. It drew fame for offering ice cream flights — just like beer or wine tasting flights, but creamier and far more delicious. The store is also in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Diego. 

Related: 27 Indulgent Ice Cream Sundaes Across America

Rita’s in Pennsylvania
Linda C./Yelp


Philadelphians consume copious amounts of water ice in the summer months, and Rita's is a local favorite. The sweet, dairy-free treat comes in flavors such as cherry and cotton candy. Cream ice, frozen custard, and gelati (layers of water ice and custard) are also popular.

Gray's Ice Cream

Gray's Ice Cream

Tiverton, Rhode Island
Gray's Ice Cream makes its confections using the shop's own cows' milk and serves ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt 365 days a year. Don't miss the mocha chip or special flavors such as Indian pudding.

Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor
Brandee S./Yelp

Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Portions are generous at Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor, which has been in business for more than 30 years. It serves up flavors such as banana pudding and orange pineapple, as well as sundaes, shakes, floats, and other ice cream novelties. Want something a little healthier? Try a frozen banana.

Related: 35 Best Beach Towns for an Affordable Summer Vacation

SDSU Dairy Sales Bar

SDSU Dairy Sales Bar

Brookings, South Dakota
Located on South Dakota State University's campus, the SDSU Dairy Sales Bar has a menu of 60 regular ice cream flavors, made from milk sourced just a mile away. Popular flavors include caramel apple and cookies 'n' cream — a flavor SDSU claims to have invented back in 1979.

Mike's Ice Cream in Nashville, Tennessee
David H./Yelp

Mike's Ice Cream

Nashville, Tennessee
Mike's Ice Cream is best known for its generous servings, old-school atmosphere, and killer scoops. The space is small and lines can be long, but it's worth the wait, with red velvet and Tennessee fudge among the top picks.

Amy's Ice Creams in Texas
Nina P./Yelp

Amy's Ice Creams

Austin, Texas
The house specialty at Amy's Ice Creams is a sweet, rich, and simple Mexican vanilla, but there are more than 350 ice creams in constant rotation at the 16-store chain — boozy flavors among them — to spice up the basic range of vanillas, chocolates, and coffee appearing daily.

Farr Better Ice Cream

Farr Better Ice Cream

Multiple locations
The Farr Better Ice Cream Parlor lures chocolate lovers with a brownie sundae made with creamy French vanilla ice cream, homemade brownies, and whipped cream. Play Dough and Caramel Caribou are more unusual customer favorites.

Lu Lu in Bristol, Vermont

Lu Lu

Bristol, Vermont
Small batches made from the freshest, locally sourced ingredients — including eggs, fresh herbs, milk, cream, and berries from nearby farms — would be enough to put Lu Lu on the map. It even uses house-made Oreo-style cookies for a cookies and cream flavor. But it's creative, oddball flavors such as Slumdog Millionaire (curried peanut butter) and Black Mascara Tears (vanilla ice cream with a bourbon-salted caramel and chocolate toffee) that stand out.

Related: 17 Irresistible Ice Cream Flavors You Can Get at the Grocery Store

Island Creamery in Chicoteague, Virginia
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Island Creamery

Chincoteague, Virginia
The Island Creamery on Chincoteague Island was one of TripAdvisor's top 10 ice cream places in the country in 2015. One favorite is Marsh Mud, a dark chocolate delight, but Island Creamery takes it further with Muddy Butter — Marsh Mud ice cream with a peanut butter swirl and Nutter Butter pieces.

Full Tilt Ice Cream in Washington
Antonio R./Yelp

Full Tilt Ice Cream

Full Tilt Ice Cream offers top-notch ice cream in a setting where you can play pinball and other arcade games, listen to some live music, or have a beer. Unique flavors include Thai iced tea and coffee Oreo.

Austin's Homemade Ice Cream Grape in Kenova, West Virginia
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Austin's Homemade Ice Cream

Kenova, West Virginia
Austin's Homemade Ice Cream comes by its nostalgic feel honestly: It opened in 1947. Be sure to try the freshly made banana or grape pineapple flavors, or go a different direction with the cinnamon taco, made of cinnamon ice cream, honey, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips. The "shell" is a waffle bowl.

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. in Madison, Wisconsin
Stacie And Koa Pup H./Yelp

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co.

Madison, Wisconsin
Searching through the 100 or so flavors at the Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co., a Madison institution, can be head-spinning. In addition to classics such as black licorice, there's This $&@! Just Got Serious (salted caramel ice cream with sea salt fudge and salted cashews) and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (cheesecake ice cream with a raspberry ripple, Oreos, and soft chocolate chunks). 

Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This ice cream shop serves all-natural, all-organic flavors, plus sorbets made with 99 percent fruit and 1 percent cane sugar. The Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream menu is packed with everything from chocolate cabernet sauvignon to chocolate macadamia coconut toffee crunch.