One of the most fun things to do when visiting Cape Cod, is taste all the homemade ice cream, and there’s definitely no shortage of it out there! In fact, finding your favorite ice cream place is almost a rite of passage on the Cape. If you’re new to the area, or are a first-time visitor wondering what the best ice cream on Cape Cod is, I’ve got you covered in this post.
Best Ice Cream On Cape Cod
One thing you should know about me is that I love ice cream. I mean, I really love it. And in my many years of traveling to Cape Cod and the islands, I’ve tried it all. I definitely have my favorites, but most ice cream places on the Cape and the islands serve up a pretty great cone. But here’s a breakdown of all the best places to get ice cream on Cape Cod.
Best Ice Cream On Cape Cod Overall
For me, first place goes to Sundae School Ice Cream, which is very popular, and I think worth the hype it receives. Sundae School serves homemade ice cream that’s just super creamy and delicious, and also offers a wide variety of flavors, including their own special concoctions. This is also my favorite place for a hot fudge sundae on the Cape because they made their own whipped cream, and use fresh cherries in season.
Sundae School has two locations: one in Dennis Port and one in Harwich Port. The lines in the summers, especially on weekends, get very long. In fact, the parking lots are often staffed with people directing traffic. The Harwich Port location is often easier to park at because it’s bigger than the Dennis Port location.
Some of the best flavors here to check out are Shark’s Tooth (black raspberry with white chocolate chips), Peach (summer only, but SO good with fresh peach chunks), Raz-Oreo (black raspberry with Oreo pieces) and Milky Way (chocolate ice cream with Milky Way chucks and a butterscotch swirl).
Portions here are a bit on the small side for the price, but overall, it’s always worth it for me, and it’s never summer vacation on Cape Cod until I’ve had my first cone at Sundae School. Sundae School is cash only.
A close second for best ice cream on Cape Cod goes to Schoolhouse in Harwich Port. Schoolhouse also serves homemade ice cream, and the best thing about it is the portions. A kiddie size here will be equal to a medium or possibly large elsewhere, so come prepared and ready to eat. They also always have a huge running list of flavors, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Parking here can be a bit tough because their lot is pretty small, but this one is also worth the effort. Schoolhouse is also cash only.
Third place for best ice cream on Cape Cod goes to Cape Cod Creamery. They have three locations to choose from: Dennis, Yarmouth and Hyannis. You’ll always be able to spot their locations because of their colorful blue and yellow Adirondack chairs lining the front of their buildings. Cape Cod Creamery also serves homemade ice cream, and while their flavors are more limited, they’re all delicious. The only small downside to this place is that their ice cream tends to be on the softer side, and always tends to melt quicker. But overall, this is another one of my favorites that I visit quite a bit.
Ice Cream Cafe also has fun and unique flavors like Chocolate Chili Pepper and Red Velvet (in addition to the classics, of course), and you can often find their ice cream truck stationed at Nauset Beach.
Last on my list for best ice cream on Cape Cod goes to Smitty’s, and they have three locations: East Falmouth, East Orleans and Mashpee. Smitty’s also serves up amazing homemade ice cream, as well as ice cream cakes and all the standard options like hot fudge sundaes. The East Falmouth location is my favorite simply because of the adorable ice cream window shutters, but all the locations are the same quality. Smitty’s locations are cash only.
Ice Cream Tip: Most of the cash-only places have an ATM on-site. If you find yourself without cash, you’ll be covered. But I always bring my card that reimburses me for ATM fees to the Cape for this reason.
Best Ice Cream In Dennis, MA
The best ice cream in Dennis, MA is definitely Sundae School in Dennis Port, but another great option is The Ice Cream Smuggler in East Dennis. The Ice Cream Smuggler serves homemade ice cream that’s very, very good, making this a great choice. I do prefer Sundae School, but I also enjoy coming here. Portions at Ice Cream Smuggler are a little bigger than Sundae School as well.
Another option for best ice cream in Dennis is Auntie’s Ice Cream Parlor. Auntie’s is a great little old-fashioned ice cream parlor right in downtown Dennis Port, and offers lots of flavors, as well as sundaes, frappes, malts and ice cream pies.
Best Ice Cream In Harwich, MA
The best ice cream in Harwich, MA goes to Sundae School and Schoolhouse, and both of these can be found in Harwich Port. But another option is Seagulls Ice Cream in downtown Harwich Port. This is a newer place that serves great ice cream, and also has a cute little penny candy section that they allow you to use for ice cream toppings.
Best Ice Cream In Brewster, MA
The best ice cream in Brewster, MA is at Brewster Scoop, which is conveniently located in the same lot as the Brewster General Store (another one of my favorite stops to make on Cape Cod!). This cute little ice cream shack has some fun flavors on their menu like Campfire S’mores and Coconut Cheesecake Brownie, and you can also get frappes, sundaes and floats here.
Best Ice Cream In Chatham, MA
The best ice cream in Chatham, MA is Buffy’s, which actually closed for a short time and reopened in 2022. Chatham doesn’t actually have a lot of options for ice cream places, but even though the competition is low, Buffy’s is still a standout. Portions here are on the small side and the prices are a bit higher than average, but that’s also most things in Chatham. Overall, the ice cream is absolutely worth it just to check it out, and they can be found right on Main Street is the cutest little alpine-inspired building (just look for the adorable pink bench!).
Special Tip For Buffy’s: In the Buffy’s seating area with all the picnic tables, you’ll see a fun little whale carved into the siding of the building next door. This makes for a fun photo opp with your ice cream 🙂
Best Ice Cream In Sandwich, MA
The best ice cream in Sandwich is Shipwreck Ice Cream, and this awesome little place offers lots of flavors, and has some really fun sundae options like Purple Sea Cow and Turtle Island. Their location is also great because they’re very close to Fisherman’s View restaurants (one of my favorites on the Cape!), as well as the Cape Cod Canal park. Shipwreck Ice Cream is cash only.
Best Ice Cream In Centerville, MA
The best ice cream in Centerville, MA goes to Four Seas Ice Cream. This is one I actually haven’t yet tried only because the location is pretty far from where we usually stay on Cape Cod, but everyone I know that loves ice cream as much as I do has told me I have to go here, so it’s on my list to try.
Four Seas serves up homemade ice cream, and usually have a few vegan flavors on their menu. They also have food service where they offer sandwiches, mac and cheese and lobster rolls.
Best Ice Cream In Hyannis, MA
The best ice cream in Hyannis is Katie’s and Cape Cod Creamery. I’ve already talked about Cape Cod Creamery as one of the best places for ice cream on Cape Cod overall, and Katie’s is also an excellent choice. Katie’s serves homemade ice cream, and ties with Buffy’s for cutest ice cream because its housed in an adorable little pink building. Katie’s has great flavor options like Cape Cod Sand, Toasted Coconut Caramel and Coffee Reeces, and they also have vegan and gluten-free options.
If you’re feeling like a snack during your visit, Katie’s also serves hot dogs.
Best Vegan Ice Cream On Cape Cod
Sweet Izzy in Harwich Port is the best vegan ice cream on Cape Cod because everything on their menu is dairy-free and vegan. Most ice cream places on Cape Cod will offer a few flavors of vegan or dairy-free ice cream, but this is the only place with an entire menu of vegan ice cream options.
Best Soft Serve Ice Cream On Cape Cod
The best soft serve ice cream on Cape Cod can be found at Ice Cream Cafe in Orleans, and Katie’s in Harwich. Both of these places offer soft serve that’s very creamy, and not filled with too much air, so it’s very flavorful. There are lots of other places that have soft serve ice cream on Cape Cod, but these are the best that I’ve tried. Generally speaking, though, I find the hard ice cream on Cape Cod much better.
Best Allergy-Aware Ice Cream On Cape Cod
The best allergy-aware ice cream places on Cape Cod are Sundae School and Sweet Izzy. As I’ve already mentioned, Sweet Izzy is completely dairy-free and vegan, which is perfect for those who have a dairy allergy. However, you should be aware that they use nuts, and are not a nut-free facility.
Sundae School has a list of rotating flavors that are kept in a special “allergy aware” freezer, and separate scoops are also used for these particular ice creams. Depending on the food allergy you have, this will be a great option to consider, and just be sure to ask your server if these allergy-aware flavors will work for you before ordering.
Many of the best ice cream places on Cape Cod will have gluten-free or vegan options, but Sundae School does the best job of having a separate “allergy aware” section that I’ve seen so far.
Which Ice Cream Shops On Cape Cod Sell Homemade Ice Cream?
The best places that serve homemade ice cream on Cape Cod are Sundae School, Schoolhouse, Cape Cod Creamery, Smitty’s, Ice Cream Cafe, Four Seas Ice Cream, Katie’s and Ice Cream Smuggler.
Best Ice Cream On Nantucket
The best ice cream on Nantucket is hands down The Juice Bar. Its name stems from their offerings of smoothies and juices, but most people come here for their amazing homemade ice cream. They also have my all-time favorite homemade waffle cones. Be sure to follow them on Instagram and check their stories for their always-rotating daily specials – many of them are really fun! I recently saw daily special flavors like Seagull Poop, which sounded so good.
One of my favorite ice cream flavors at Juice Bar is their Strawberry Dark Chocolate Chip, and my husband is partial to their Crantucket. They also offer vegan options. Juice Bar is cash only.
If you’re on Nantucket for more than a day and want to check out another place, a great choice is Jack + Charlie’s. I prefer Juice Bar a bit more, but for longer stays on the island, I also like to come here to mix it up, and their ice cream is really good. They have some fun flavors like Black Forest Cherry Fudge and Blue Monstah, and they also have a small coffee and breakfast menu.
Best Ice Cream On Martha’s Vineyard
The best ice cream on Martha’s Vineyard is definitely Mad Martha’s. I can honestly say that I think about their M&M Cream flavor more than I probably should. They serve homemade ice cream, and have some awesome flavors, but do a great job with classics like Chocolate Chip and Black Raspberry. They have three locations on the island: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, so matter where you are on the island, you’re never too far from Mad Martha’s.
Another great option on Martha’s Vineyard is Vineyard Scoops in Edgartown. They have some really good ice cream (although I do prefer Mad Martha’s), and have some fun flavors mixed with the classics. If you’re on the island for longer than a day, it’s worth checking this one out. Vineyard Scoops is cash only.
You may also find these posts helpful:
- Best Time Of Year To Visit Cape Cod
- Things Every First Timer Must See & Do On Cape Cod
- What To Pack For Cape Cod
- Best Towns To Stay In On Cape Cod
- Unique Things To Do On Cape Cod
- Best Things To Do On Cape Cod For Adults
- Best Things To Do On Cape Cod In The Fall
- Best Lobster Roll On Cape Cod
- Best Sunsets On Cape Cod
- Best Waterfront Restaurants On Cape Cod
- Summer In New England: Best Places To Go & Things To Do!
- Best Beach Towns In New England
- Ultimate Guide To The Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches
And here are some guides I’ve created on Cape Cod towns you may find helpful:
- Best Things To Do In Wellfleet, MA
- Best Things To Do In Harwich, MA
- Best Things To Do In Dennis, MA
- Best Things To Do In Falmouth, MA
- Best Things To Do In Brewster, MA
- Best Things To Do In Provincetown, MA
- Best Things To Do In Chatham, MA
- Best Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
That’s A Wrap On The Best Ice Cream On Cape Cod & The Islands
And there you go – that’s my ultimate guide on the very best ice cream on Cape Cod! With so many choices, you’re bound to find your own favorite. Whether you end up loving Sundae School as much as I do, or you end up falling hard for Katie’s, or maybe can’t live without the ice cream sandwich at Ice Cream Cafe, the one thing we all know for sure is that you’ll never run out of options for ice cream on the Cape.