Best East Coast Ice Cream Shops Worth the Trip

trays of ice cream behind serving counter

When that adventurous spirit hits this season, we urge you to road trip in search of the best ice cream on the East Coast. Satisfy your sweet tooth by taking these treats out for a spin on your next summer excursion!

Our Favorite Stops That Will Make Your Brain Freeze

1 New Hampshire

NH ice cream never tasted so delicious.
Hayward’s, Nashua
Open since 1940, Hayward’s is New Hampshire’s #1 homemade ice cream stand. Their Chocolate Tsunami flavor is a fan favorite, featuring a delicious blend of chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips and brownie chunks. They offer over 60 homemade flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, in addition to summertime comfort foods such as lobster rolls and hot dogs. Their open outdoor seating area allows guests to enjoy the essence of summer while relaxing with a tasty treat.

Sanctuary Dairy Farm, Sunapee
Emerging from 10 generations of dairy farmers dating back to the 1700s, Beck Johnson introduced ice cream to the family business and never looked back. At Sanctuary Dairy Farm, visitors can picnic in the shade of apple trees, stroll through the 750 acres of meadow and woodland and feed the farm animals. The ice cream itself, however, is the property’s best selling point – Beck became certified by Penn State University in ice cream science and even learned from experts in Italy to perfect his craft and spread it to the family. 

2 Massachusetts

Searching for the top MA ice cream? Check this out!
Crescent Ridge Dairy, Sharon
Named as one of the top-ten best ice creams in the world by National Geographic, Crescent Ridge Dairy lives up to its praises. A family operation serving the Greater Boston area since 1968, their Dairy Bar is a local legend of fresh “small batch” ice cream. Their authentic milkman delivery service can also bring the taste of Crescent Ridge home to you.

Kimball Farms, Westford
This iconic Massachusetts spot was founded in 1939 when Jack and Clara Kimball turned their woodshed into an ice cream parlor. Over 50 homemade flavors are made daily at the Westford location and delivered several times a week to their three expanded locations. The original Kimball Farms now offers mini golf, bumper boats, pony rides and much more, so you can work up an appetite with some family fun!

3 Connecticut

Here’s the scoop on the best ice cream places in CT.
Milkcraft, Fairfield, West Hartford & New Haven
If you’re looking for a quirky twist on your favorite summer treat, Milkcraft may be the place for you. Serving their craft in a caramelized Hong Kong bubble waffle cone, Milkcraft uses liquid nitrogen to create smaller ice crystals, which results in the smoothest ice cream you can imagine. The term “melt-in-your-mouth” has never been more relevant.

Gelatissimo Artisan Gelato, New Canaan
We had to throw a gelato option into the mix here. Gelatissimo Artisan Gelato is a hip spot for the silky-smooth delicacy, located in the heart of New Canaan’s upscale downtown. They import authentic Italian gelato paste to give customers a true taste of Italy. For more ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, try the Gelato cakes, crepes and coffee drinks.

4 New York

Want to find the top ice cream parlors in NY? Look no further.
Purity Ice Cream, Ithaca
This funky Upstate college town is home to a variety of mouth-watering munchies, but nothing beats a visit to Purity Ice Cream, AKA the “Ice Cream of the Finger Lakes.” Serving the community for over 80 years, Purity offers staple sweets with an old-fashioned flair. Grab a cone and check out the shores of Cayuga Lake or take a hike along Ithaca’s spectacular gorges.

Ample Hills Creamery, New York
From pretzel infusions to cinnamon toast, Brooklyn-based Ample Hills Creamery routinely experiments with creative flavors to give customers something new to drool over. While the ice cream is all churned fresh in Brooklyn, you can find Ample Hills all over the city with 12 New York locations to choose from. Ample Hills’ dedication to flavor will have you licking every last drop.

5 New Jersey

Your search for the best ice cream shops in NJ ends here.
The Bent Spoon, Princeton
Not only is Princeton worthy of your time for perusing local shops and admiring the quaint college town, but it is also home to some of New Jersey’s best ice cream. The Bent Spoon rotates between 550 inventive artisanal flavors including lavender mascarpone, New Jersey honey and even cashew salt & pepper, which fans assure tastes better than it sounds. If you’re looking to take your taste buds for a ride on the wild side, the Bent Spoon is the place for you!

Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream, Stone Harbor
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Jersey shore without ice cream. Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream is the quintessential choice to satisfy your summer craving – it even made the top ten in USA Today’s nationwide ice cream competition. Ask for “The Blue One” – vanilla mixed with cookie dough, chocolate chips and Oreos ­– to get the ultimate Springer’s experience. 

6 Pennsylvania

What’s the best ice creamery in PA? Let your taste buds be the judge.
Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, University Park
Located in the heart of Penn State’s campus, Berkey Creamery is a local landmark and a symbol of long-standing college tradition. For over 150 years, Berkey Creamery has provided the community with irresistible ice cream and supported Penn State’s Department of Food Science, where students (like Beck Johnson of New Hampshire’s Sanctuary Dairy Farm, mentioned above) can receive certifications in ice cream science. 

Bassett’s Ice Cream, Philadelphia
Clearly Pennsylvania is home to the most historic ice cream providers on our list. Bassett’s Ice Cream has been playing the field since 1861, making it a well-loved staple in the vibrant Philly food scene. Plus, Bassett’s is a featured stop on the Pennsylvania Pursue Your Scoops Ice Cream Trail, which you can learn more about here.

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