Ice Cream + Fun! These local seacoast ice cream shops have it all!
Let me just say, I love ice cream. Like, bordering on obsession level, particularly in the summer.
As much as I love taking my kids for ice cream, it would be great to make the experience more of an “experience” (i.e. burn some time without spending money) and there are many opportunities for that around the Seacoast!
When you’re looking for a sweet treat coupled with a fun outing, check out these local ice cream shops, listed in no particular order:
#1 The Goldenrod, Short Sands, York ME
Ready to travel back in time? Belly up to the old-fashioned Fountain Soda bar at The Goldenrod for a hot fudge sundae or opt for your favorite ice cream scoop. Swivel around on your bar stool and behind you, you’ll see the famous saltwater taffy being made along with a “penny candy” shop. Just outside, you can hit up the Fun-O-Rama arcade for some .25 skeeball and vintage video games, take a walk along Short Sands or stroll through the shops in the square. Short Sands is the full-service date of old-time beach outings. (thegoldenrod.com)
#2 Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream, Exeter NH
With over 50 flavors of ice cream (proudly serving Richardson’s), Richie’s Italian Ice, Hood Soft Serve, Dolce Freddo Gelato, Bene Vita Greek Frozen Yogurt and of course sundaes, frappes and Razzles (think McFlurry), Stillwells is a local favorite. Just steps away from the shop is Swasey Parkway where you can find some shady spots to relax or take a walk around the river. Tastes like summer. Try the Grapenut, it’s my favorite. For more info, find them on Facebook or call 603-777-5077.
#3 The Beach Plum, North Hampton NH
Situated directly across from North Hampton State Beach, this original location of the Beach Plum offers 75+ flavors of ice cream plus a full menu including fried seafood, lobster rolls, chowders and more. Dine at the outdoor picnic tables or take it across the street and sit along the seashore on the beach wall. Rumor has it that at low tide, North Hampton Beach is a great place to go hunting for sand dollars. Get some! Open seasonally from April through October. (thebeachplum.net)
#4 Dunne’s Ice Cream (Nubble Light) York ME
Formerly known as Brown’s, Dunne’s proudly serves over 70 flavors of ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt along with a selection of no sugar options. The new building offers public bathrooms, handicap access and comfortable outdoor seating. Please note, cash only! Just steps (or a short car ride away) is the famous Nubble Lighthouse offering spectacular views of the coast and rocky outcroppings great for climbing and seashore investigation. The perfect Maine outing! (dunnesicecream.com)
#5 Annabelle’s, Portsmouth NH
If you’ve spent any time in Portsmouth, you know about the landmark ice cream shop located downtown on Ceres Street. Annabelle’s homemade ice cream is “16% butter fat, kosher, natural ice cream with no additives or artificial colors” with flavors like Caribbean Coconut, Minty Mint Cookie and Pumpkin Pie. Sweet! Take your ice cream and walk along the tug boats, check out the shops in Market Square or stroll on down to Prescott Park and visit the flower gardens. (annabellesicecream.com)
#6 The Creamery at Applecrest, Hampton Falls NH
Following the beautiful Applecrest renovation, The Creamery is housed in the farm’s 1804 post-and-beam barn overlooking the flower garden and apple tree orchards. In addition to their Memories brand ice cream selections, you can take advantage of the fresh fruit grown and picked on site for a blueberry pie a la mode, apple cobbler or a fresh fruit smoothie. Afterwards, enjoy a walk around the farm, shop in the expanded farmer’s market or pick-your-own of whatever is in season. (applecrest.com)
Worth Mentioning: In addition to the Dairy Queen in Salisbury MA and Kittery ME, the Dairy Queen in the Market Basket parking lot in Somersworth has reopened. There’s absolutely nothing else to do there (unless you want to go to TJ Maxx, which isn’t a bad idea actually), but we’re talking Dairy Queen so it speaks for itself.
There are many, many wonderful ice cream shops around the Seacoast, it would be impossible to list them all here. That being said, I’ve received several recommendations of other local spots that I plan to research thoroughly. Stay tuned!