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5 Ice Cream Road Trips

Here’s the scoop on trails worth traveling  

spinner image a couple sharing ice cream
Ice cream trails across the country support local dairy farms and serve variations of everyone’s favorite frozen treat.​
Getty Images

As road trip inspiration, food trails celebrate regional strengths in everything from barbecue (North Carolina) to fermented foods (Pennsylvania). But we all scream for ice cream trails that champion our love of sweet, frozen treats from farm-based dairies and boutique innovators. 

​“Ice cream is truly a blank canvas for creativity,” says Maya Warren, an ice cream scientist and developer. “It brings so much happiness.”​

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Get your licks on the following worth-the-drive ice cream trails across the country.

spinner image left a hand holding a cone of jenis frose ice cream right examples of jenis dairy free ice creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has numerous scoop shops around Ohio. ​
Jeni's

Ohio Ice Cream Trail

Ohio has more than 1,400 dairy farms across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Development. The official Ohio Ice Cream Trail consists of 20 creameries in cities such as Cleveland, home to Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream where you can watch the batches being made in the open kitchen, and towns such as Yellow Springs, home to Young’s Jersey Dairy offering nostalgic cones, mini golf and milking demos.

What to order: Established in 1870, Graeter’s Ice Cream in Cincinnati is famous for its black raspberry chocolate chip. There are also locations in Oxford, Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus. 

Where to stay: In Columbus, stay in a former 1917 Italianate home at 50 Lincoln Short North Bed and Breakfast within a half-mile of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ original North Market location.

spinner image left an image of a baby cow right a man eating ice cream
An Ice Cream Trail includes more than 40 creameries throughout Pennsylvania.​
PA Tourism and the Department of Agriculture

​Scooped: An Ice Cream Trail, Pennsylvania

More than 40 creamery locations pepper the Pennsylvania ice cream trail. From soft serve ice cream nachos at Widnoon Soft Serve in Templeton to scoops of Alumni Swirl at the Berkey Creamery on the Penn State campus, check the website for the trail map to learn about all the options across the state. 

What to order: In Lancaster County in southeastern Pennsylvania, visit six stops within an hour’s drive, including Lapp Valley Farm, where the Jersey cows deliver protein- and calcium-rich milk made into 16 flavors, and Fox Meadows Creamery where you can enjoy a scoop of honeyed lavender amid fields of crops raised to feed the cows.

Where to stay: Stick with the agrarian theme in Lancaster County and book a room at Beacon Hollow Farm Amish Guest House, a working farm. 

spinner image rocky road ice cream by the beach
New flavors mix with timeless favorites in sweet shops along the Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail in California. ​
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​Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail, California

About 35 miles east of San Francisco, the Tri-Valley area — made up of the Amador, San Ramon and Livermore valleys — demonstrates its culinary prowess with caffeine and beer routes in addition to an ice cream trail with about 13 sweet stops. 

What to order: Crowd favorite Meadowlark Dairy in Pleasanton dispenses towering soft serve cones in flavors such as cookie butter.

Where to stay: Book a room in view of the area’s vineyards and olive orchards at the Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa

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​The Wind-Chill Factory in Ticonderoga, New York, offers soft serve ice cream among other treats.​
The Wind-Chill Factory

​Adirondack Ice Cream Trail, New York

The beauty of the Adirondack Ice Cream Trail, aside from the mountain views, is that it is helpfully divided into three routes — nine shops in the north, six in the south and six in the east — for easy navigation.

What to order: In the east around Lake Champlain, order a chocolate-vanilla soft serve twist from the Wind-Chill Factory in Ticonderoga, 2023 winner of best ice cream in the Adirondacks.

Where to stay: A little more than a mile from Licks and Cones ice cream cart in Schroon Lake, also in the east, check into the new Lodge at Schroon Lake for fun activities such as pickleball and paddleboarding.  

spinner image a girl serving ice cream at maiden maryland
Visitors can sample ice cream at nine different creameries along Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail.​
Courtesy of Maryland Office of Tourism

​Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail

Nine cow-to-cone creameries populate Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail in a state that claims to have served the first ice cream in the colonies, according to the Maryland Office of Tourism. If you guessed it was strawberry ice cream in 1744 by Gov. Thomas Bladen, then you deserve a double scoop. 

What to order: Enjoy a scoop of chocolate peanut butter or caramel pretzel at Prigel Family Creamery in Glen Arm while browsing its cheeses. Dipping more than 80 flavors, Rocky Point Creamery in Tuscarora sources its milk from an 1883-vintage farm. 

Where to stay: Stage your pilgrimage from Gramercy Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Stevenson on the grounds of the state’s oldest organic herb farm.

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