From Falmouth to Provincetown and everywhere in between, Cape Cod is abundant in amazing beaches, green spaces, historic places of interest, restaurants, and all-around fun. In short, it’s the perfect vacation destination! And what better way is there to savor the vacation experience than by treating yourself to ice cream at the end of the day? Whether you’re day-tripping or spending the season on the Cape, ordering ice cream is just about guaranteed to brighten your day.
With tons of options for homemade ice cream, flavors that suit different dietary preferences, and a range of classic to more trendy shops, there’s no shortage of amazing options available to cool off and satisfy your sweet tooth. No trip to a beach town is complete without a tasty frozen dairy treat, so read on for some of the best Cape Cod ice cream shops you’ll want to add to your itinerary immediately. The only question left is: cup or cone?
Ice Cream Sandwich – Sandwich
With a name like Ice Cream Sandwich, how could you not pay a visit? Located in the Upper Cape town of Sandwich, Ice Cream Sandwich will serve up just the treat to satisfy your taste buds after a long day in the sun. In case the name is confusing, the menu is far more extensive than just ice cream sandwiches.
Try an ice cream donut sandwich for a delicious and unusual treat or stick with a classic by ordering one of the special New England flavors in a house-made waffle cone. On-site, the large front lawn is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy your frozen treat before it melts. Ice Cream Sandwich is open year-round and is worth a visit regardless of the season!
Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium – Falmouth
At the entrance to the Cape is the Town of Falmouth, home to beaches on Buzzards Bay and Martha’s Vineyard Sound, natural areas, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Once you’ve explored these areas, head to Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium. In addition to classic flavors, Ben & Bill’s has unique ones like ginger and chocolate peanut butter cookie dough.
If you’re seeking a frozen treat that’s vegan-friendly but you’re tired of the usual one or two vegan flavors available at most shops, you’ll love it here. Ben and Bill’s has vegan flavors that go beyond basic (like a mint chocolate cookie or chocolate raspberry). Open year-round, the menu here goes way beyond just ice cream, with sweet treats galore to fulfill your sugary wishes.
Sundae School – Dennisport and Harwich Port
While there’s nothing wrong with ice cream shops that are new in town, you know there’s something right about those that have been around for decades. Open seasonally since 1976, Sundae School has the whole ice cream experience perfected. The Dennisport location has the look and feel of an old-school ice cream parlor, complete with ice cream memorabilia to set the tone for visitors.
The Harwich Port shop has a lovely patio upon which you can savor your selection. The setting isn’t all Sundae School serves up; its homemade hard-style ice cream is the real treat, so make your pick and grab an iconic sailor-style Sundae School hat to complete the experience!
Four Seas Ice Cream – Centerville (Barnstable)
Opened in 1934, generations of vacationers have delighted in dairy treats from Four Seas Ice Cream in the Barnstable village of Centerville. Situated in a charming former blacksmith’s shop, visitors can choose from ice cream in a cup, cone, sundae, or frappe. Pick a classic hard-serve flavor or a more unusual one, like lemon crisp, pistachio nut pineapple, or maple bacon.
You may even want to make it a meal; in addition to desserts, Four Seas boasts an extensive sandwich menu full of lunchtime staples and unique eats alike. From spring through fall, visitors can enjoy the full menu. Bestowed with many awards, Four Seas remains a humble, can’t-be-missed stop on any mid-Cape visit. In the off-season, pints of ice cream and ice cream cakes are available to purchase.
Sweet Caroline’s – Sandwich
Whether you’re craving rich hard-serve or soft-serve ice cream abundant in flavorful add-ins, or something a little bit lighter, like sorbet, sherbert, or frozen yogurt, you’ll find it at Sweet Caroline’s in Sandwich. Although it only opened in 2009 – a newcomer in the field compared with some of its decades-old peers – Sweet Caroline’s has made a name for itself as a purveyor of delicious, locally-sourced ice cream and as a great community member.
Situated on beautifully landscaped grounds, you’ll have a hard time determining which is prettier – your sundae or the greenery around you! Sweet Caroline’s is a great place to take a break and enjoy the moment. Try a homemade waffle cone sundae with fresh whipped cream for a mouthwatering and satisfyingly sweet. Open seasonally, Sweet Caroline’s deserves a place on your itinerary if you like ice cream with innovative flavor combinations.
Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Shop – Chatham
A newcomer on the Cape Cod ice cream scene, Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Shop offers desserts with a perfect balance of classic and unique. Scooping up ice cream made in Maine, Sweet Dreams’ toppings are one of the ways it really shines. Toppings from cinnamon toast crunch to fresh strawberries to hot Nutella will satisfy any craving you might have.
And if you’re seeking an ice cream sandwich, it’s your lucky day! Build your own “Dreamwich” with any of the ice cream flavors and a topping to coat the open edge of the sandwich. Open all year long, sweet dreams are almost certain after a visit to this Chatham shop on Main Street.
Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream – Hyannis
With a massive menu of both soft serve and hard serve choices, you might need some time with the menu before making your pick (or picks, more likely!). Katie’s also serves up gluten-free and vegan options, making this a great pick if you need or enjoy one of these options. If you’re traversing quaint downtown Hyannis, be sure to stop in and try some “Cape Cod Sand” (it’s a specialty here!), Lavender Honeycomb, or Coconut Almond Chip.
Try pairing one of these with a more classic flavor for a truly scrumptious choice. Katie’s is located in an adorable big pink house that is as warm as its ice cream is cold. Open seasonally each year, pay a visit to Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream and you’ll be in for a real treat!
Ice Cream Smuggler – Dennis
This counter-serve institution has been a favorite in East Dennis since 1979. With six different varieties and styles of cones, it’s worth forgoing the cup in favor of a crunchy edible ice cream vessel here. Some of Ice Cream Smuggler’s specialty flavors include Apple Pie, Salty Caramel, Raspberry French Truffle, and Grasshopper, so if you like interesting flavors with delectable add-ins, you’ll love one of these choices.
Don’t discount the frozen yogurt menu, which is more extensive and interesting than most. Ice Cream Smuggler is open during the warm months, so be sure to stop by after visiting one of the iconic Dennis beaches, Mayflower Beach or Corporation Beach. Rated as one of the best ice cream shops in America, Ice Cream Smuggler is a can’t miss on any ice cream aficionado’s list.
Lewis Brothers Ice Cream – Provincetown (and Truro beaches)
Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of Lewis Brothers Ice Cream‘s sweet delicacies. Open since 1997, this family-run establishment has an enormous menu of everyday flavors – from Maple Walnut to Mudslide Chip – plus premium flavors that change by the week, sugar-free options, and fruit smoothies.
Products are made daily, so you know it’s not only going to be scrumptious, but also very fresh. The shop is located in the heart of Provincetown on Commercial Street, but if you’re lucky, you might also be able to get a cone from the Lewis Brothers Ice Cream truck that frequents beaches in Truro in the summertime.
The Local Scoop – Orleans
Something special about The Local Scoop in Orleans is the way it does it all – and does it all well! One of these specialties is a create-your-own-sundae bar, featuring over fifty toppings. Another is its unique “farm-to-scoop” flavors, which are interesting concoctions made with ingredients from a local farmers’ market. In addition to these, The Local Scoop serves a massive menu of ice cream popsicles with names like “Strawberry Sunrise” and “Cookie Crusher.”
Did I mention the ice cream is homemade and there are plenty of options for those with vegan and gluten-free diets? plenty of green space and loads of picnic tables, The Local Scoop is the perfect place to gather with friends and family. The treats are served here and the atmosphere will make everyone in your party happy! Add The Local Scoop to your list if you’re on Cape Cod during the summer months.
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Mallory grew up in Connecticut, and after some time living in Ireland, Montana, and Virginia, she felt called back home to New England. She lives in Boston and writes about the intersection of urban living, outdoor adventure, and enjoying the simple things at SimpliCity Outside. Her favorite New England adventures involve hiking, finding ice cream shops, and exploring small towns.