Best Ice Cream in Connecticut: Ice Cream Parlors and Ice Cream Shops Kids Adore

Connecticut's Ice Cream Parlors are sure to put a smile on your face! Photo courtesy of Big Dipper
Connecticut's Ice Cream Parlors are sure to put a smile on your face! Photo courtesy of Big Dipper

The best ice cream in Connecticut is found all over the state, in fun ice cream parlors and adorable shops. Whatever the season, ice cream is a treat that kids adore. Here’s a list of the tastiest ice cream places in Connecticut, open year round to keep ice cream nights a tradition. Hard ice cream, soft serve, sundaes, shakes, floats–the options are endless for satisfying a sweet tooth. Read on for our picks of the best ice cream in Connecticut This ice cream tour will have kids asking to go back all the time!

Check out our Connecticut Restaurant Guide for more places to eat. And be sure to swing by our events calendar for the latest food festivals, family activities, and more!

Best Ice Cream in Connecticut - Tastiest Ice Cream

1. Ferris Acres Creamery - Newtown

There’s a reason you will always find a line at Ferris Acres Creamery; it's that good!. Ferris Acres Creamery gives customers the full farm experience. The creamery has been in the Ferris family for three generations. Every family member contributes to the business, making their ice cream a true labor of love. Enjoy flavors like Campfire, Cookie Jar, and Parent Trap while watching farm animals amid a beautiful farm landscape. Sorbet, No Sugar Added, and Vegan selections are available, as well as seasonal flavors such as Pumpkin Pie and Reindeer Food.

2. Rich Farm Ice Cream - Oxford, Bristol, and Brookfield

This might be the biggest scoop you can find! Prepare yourself (and your belly) for Rich’s large portions. Opened in 1994, Rich Farm is a full family operation with endless rotating flavors, especially for Oreo and Chocolate fans. With hard, soft serve, diary-free, and Italian ice options, the variety will make it hard to choose. An even harder decision might be between cup, cone, or home made ice cream sandwich! With three locations in Connecticut (and even one in California), Rich's shouldn't be missed.

3. Be Chocolat - Fairfield

Chef Benoit and his wife, Sylvie, offer artisanal Belgian chocolate and new for 2022, ice cream! Be Chocolat’s in-house flavors include Vanilla, Stracciatella, Salted Caramel, Biscoff, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate. Pick from a waffle cone, cup, or Belgian waffle (weekends only). Each scoop comes with a piece of Belgian chocolate and a Pirouli!  Don’t forget to pick up chocolate for the way home!

Image of family eating ice cream - Best Ice Cream in Connecticut 
Go on–make a mess and have fun! Photo courtesy of Ashley's Ice Cream, Facebook

4. Ashley's Ice Cream - Hamden, New Haven, Branford, Madison, and Guilford

Named after owner Alex Stein's beloved dog, Ashley’s Ice Cream has been a winner of “Best Ice Cream in New Haven” by New Haven Advocate's Readers Poll for over 30 years! You can find homemade ice cream as well as ice cream pies! Don’t forget to add their famous Bittersweet hot fudge to your order! Besides serving ice cream, Ashley’s goes beyond by giving back to the community; using environment-friendly cups and napkins in all locations, donating to fundraisers, and hosting collection drives. 

5. Walnut Beach Creamery - Milford

Painted green and pink, it is hard to miss this cute ice cream shop down by the beach. Walnut Beach Creamery offers an in-house full rotation of flavors as well as sorbets. Additional menu items include vegan ice cream, sugar-free ice cream pops, and pup cups for your four legged friends! Currently running their 16th annual employee flavor contest, the ice cream shop gives employees a chance for their creation to become a permanent menu addition. Lick your order while walking Walnut Beach, located one block away! 

6. Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream - Hamden

Located by Quinnipiac University, Wentworth's lets you view the scenic beauty of Sleeping Giant State Park while indulging in ice cream. This local gem has over 25 flavors such as Chocolate Oreo Brownie Batter, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and Cookie Monster to name a few. Gluten free sugar cones are also available. With a rotating selection of Flavors of the Moment and special Lightning Flavors available for limited periods of time, Wentworth is a must stop on your ice cream tour.

 
With such amazing ice cream in Connecticut, it can be hard to choose! Photo courtesy of Arethusa’s Farm.

7. Arethusa Farm - New Haven, Bantam, and West Hartford

Smell freshly made waffle cones as you walk into one of Arethusa’s three locations, all with an old school vibe. Using milk from their farm’s cows, Arethusa serves homemade ice cream with flavors like Old Fashioned Vanilla and Old Fashioned Mint Chip, as well as other specialty and seasonal varieties. Winner of 2021 Food and Wine Magazine’s “The Best Ice Cream in Every State”, even First Lady, Dr Jill Biden, had to try Arethusa in their New Haven location over the summer. Besides ice cream, grab from their full line of dairy products including cheese, yogurt, milk, butter, sour cream, and seasonal eggnog. 

8. Milkcraft - Fairfield, Bridgeport, New Haven, and West Hartford

A total ice cream experience! Watch your order being made like a science project at Milkcraft, where they serve all natural ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. Fun options include “Milk and Cereal” which is all natural vanilla served with your selection of Fruitee O’s, Choco Puffs, or Frosted Flakes cereal. Choose between a homemade bubble cone (Hong Kong caramelized waffle), creamee bun (sweet glazed bun), or classic scoops in a cup. Milkcraft even has their Milktruck, a mobile food truck to rent for ice cream!

image of girls holding ice cream in bright waffle cones. 
The best ice cream in Connecticut comes in spectacular packaging. Photo courtesy of Big Dipper.

9. Big Dipper - Prospect 

Learning to make ice cream from makers around the world , while at Rutgers University, founder Harry Rowe Jr, believes the best ice cream comes from love instead of recipe books. Big Dipper has over 50 homemade delicious ice cream flavors including Graham Jam, Icebox, M & M and Toasted Almond (their signature flavor). Be sure to go during the holidays for Christmas Cookie ice cream!

10. UConn Dairy Bar - Storrs

A beloved staple of UConn students, the Dairy Bar has been around since 1953! Using milk from their herd of cows, this ice cream shop is still making ice cream with original recipes. Dairy Bar offers over 24 rotating flavors such as Husky Tracks and Salted Caramel Crunch. Additionally, there are unique monthly milkshakes and sundaes. You can’t go wrong ordering a Dairy Bar’s ice cream sandwich! It is beyond huge in portion and made with homemade chocolate chip cookies!

11. Grassroots - Granby

Serving super unique flavors inspired from global cuisines and cultures, Grassroots is the place to see! Thirty- six in house natural flavors rotating daily including Samoa, Goat Cheese & Blueberry, German Chocolate Cake, and more. Offering 1 ½ scoops because it’s hard to choose one flavor, enjoy ice cream right on Granby’s town green. Grassroots’s menu even has Dream Your Own Hot Chocolate with a scoop of your choice and endless toppings!

Image of massive ice cream cones - Best Ice Cream in Connecticut 
Cheers! The best ice cream in CT is perfect for sharing and celebrating. Photo courtesy of Honeycone

12. Honeycone - Chester

Located in downtown Chester, Honeycone is beyond delicious! Using fresh local ingredients, Honeycone’s ice cream flavors include Cinnamon Honey, Creme de Menthe Chip, Olive Oil, and yes, classics too. Flavors rotate to represent the seasons throughout the year. Fun in house toppings including baklava pieces, toasted marshmallows, and vegan chocolate sauce.  Decorative cones even include dark Ghirardelli chocolate dipped with sprinkled sea salt. Kids will love their own menu with sundae flavors such as Unicorn, Worms n’ Dirt, and Oreo!

Best Ice Cream in Connecticut - Fun Ice Cream Parlors

13. Saugatuck Sweets - Westport and Fairfield 

A sweet shop to the max! With hard ice cream, soft serve, and endless candy, Saugatuck Sweets has an old school ice cream parlor vibe that everyone will enjoy! There is even a waffle shack for the colder months giving you that apres ski vibe! Pregnant moms get a free scoop - and yes, it can be daily! Owner Al DiGuido goes above and beyond with hosting all kinds of events throughout the year to help support his foundation, Al's Angels. 

Image of boat-shaped sundae - Best Ice Cream in Connecticut 
Try the "Chipwrecked" at Tabitha's Ice Cream. Photo courtesy of Tabitha's.

14. Tabitha's Ice Cream - Fairfield and Bridgeport 

Newly open year round in Fairfield and seasonally open at Captain’s Cove, Tabitha’s offers an experience with your order, especially when you order ice cream sundaes. Sundae offerings such as Baby Shark, The New Yorker, and Jimmy Buffett have photo ops within the ice cream parlor. Tabitha’s sells Praline's own made ice cream with over 20 flavors, as well as an exclusive flavor, Shirley Temple. They also serve Nutty Butter vegan ice cream, Micalizzi's Italian Ice, and more. So many Instagram worthy photo opportunities like standing near a cutout of Taylor Swift await at Tabitha’s!

15. Stew Leonard's - Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington

What is not to love about Stew Leonard's!? Singing dairy products, a train chugging through the store, and entertainment on ceilings to keep kids occupied while getting grocery shopping done. But there is more - ice cream at the end of your trip! Through Stew Leonard’s reward app, get a free small (but truly large) soft serve scoop in a cone or cup with every $100 spent just by scanning at checkout. Sprinkles included for free! Enjoy your ice cream while watching the animals (seasonal) or holiday drive-thrus (Halloween and Christmas).

16. Plasko Farm - Trumbull

Such fun choices, it's hard to make a decision! Some of Plasko’s flavors include their famous Apple Cider Donut Swirl, Cotton Candy Cloud, Twizted Caramel Pretzel, and Sweet Peaches & Cream just to name a few. Plasko’s has a view window for customers to watch ice cream being made. Homemade Italian, soft served, slushies and more, there is something for everyone’s sweet tooth. Additionally, this adorable cafe offers pies, baked goods, and their famous apple cider and pumpkin spice donuts! Watch animals and chickens with outdoor seating available. Don’t forget to check out their corn maze in October! 

17. Rose Orchard - North Branford 

Relax by licking a soft serve ice cream treat while animal watching! Rose Orchards may only have 3 flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and twist) but it allows delicious creativity by offering dips and candy toppings. Have a razzle, sundae, or ice cream sandwich while at Rose Orchards. Last stop is always grabbing a pie to go!

Image of children in a boat holding ice cream cones 
Go on an adventure for Connecticut's best ice cream. Photo courtesy of Cowlick’s Creamery.

18. Cowlick's Creamery - Waterford

In 2019, the Today Show named ​Cowlick’s Creamery one of ​”the absolute best ice cream shops in America!” It lives up to that name, serving both hard ice cream and soft serve. Cowlick’s fun flavors include Superman (Kid’s favorite), S’mores, and Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Fro-Yo. Kids love the Kid Dirt Sundae with sour gummy worms, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, crushed Oreo cookies, and Chocolate soft serve ice cream. All their sundaes are unique and filled with toppings! Don’t miss out on their ice cream sandwiches with freshly baked cookies.  

19. Scoops & Sprinkles - Rocky Hill

So good - even one of their ice cream carts is in a Hallmark Channel movie! Serving up to four scoops of ice cream, Scoops and Sprinkles' offers over 30 ice cream flavors with vegan, no sugar added, and soft serve options. Besides your standard cup or cone, you can order a reusable magic color cup and spoon. Prefer your ice cream beverage style? Choose from milkshakes, floats, Gelati, or Iceberg. Pick up a Scoops and Sprinkles Christmas ornament on your way out.

Image of ice cream on a bridge - Bst ice cream in CT 
Find amazing ice cream in the heart of downtown Mystic! Photo courtesy of  Mystic Drawbridge

20. Mystic Drawbridge - Mystic

Located in the heart of downtown Mystic, Mystic Drawbridge has an amazing ice cream variety with even more amazing views. Choose from over 30 flavors including originals like Seaport Salty Swirl and Mystic Mud. Pick between shakes, ice cream floats, frappes, or a flurry. The chocolate Marshmallow brownie shake is a chocolate crowd pleaser. Other options includee non- dairy ice cream, smoothies and cakes. Watch the bridge rise for boats passing or kayakers while eating your sweet treat!

21. Gumdrops n Lollipops - Niantic

This is the cutest ice cream place that belongs in a movie! Offering homemade ice cream, soft serve, sundaes, milkshakes, homemade fudge, old fashion candy, and beyond, Gumdrops n Lollipops definitely gives you a trip down memory lane. Located a block from the beach as well as a kid's museum, this ice cream parlor has coastal vibes with flavors such as Captain Cupcake and Sandy Toe Cookie Dough. Don’t forget to bring cash though; they are a cash-only establishment. 

22. A.C. Petersen Farms - West Hartford

Looking for an old school Friendly’s vibe? Come to A.C. Petersen Farms, a traditional diner serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the most talked about item on the menu is their ice cream. Over 35 ice cream flavors to choose from include Brownie Batter, Pumpkin Oreo, and Chocolate Extreme. A. C. Petersen’s has lots of variety. From the Belgium waffle sundae to the dipper sundae (most popular), this parlor makes their own heavy whipped cream too. It’s hard to leave without a full stomach!

Places featured in this article:


Rich Farm ice Cream

Walnut Beach Creamery

Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream
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