Summer isn’t summer without ice cream—whether you’re frantically licking a triple-scoop waffle cone trying to stay ahead of the heat or slurping soft serve out of the bottom of the cone, ice cream and sunny days go hand-in-hand. It’s all about the experience of going to grab a cone from one of your favourite ice cream shops.
We asked you to tell us the best scoop shops in cottage country. If you have a favourite we missed, let us know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We couldn’t start off a list about cottage country ice cream without mentioning Bobcaygeon-based, family-owned, 100 per cent Canadian Kawartha Dairy. With 10 stores from Newmarket to Bancroft to Huntsville—and a bunch of places in between—Kawartha Dairy locations are possibly the most popular scoop shops in Ontario. Not only that, but Kawartha Dairy ice cream is stocked by dozens of stores across the province, including these spots:
Wherever you are, you don’t have to go far to find Kawartha Dairy’s best-selling Moose Tracks, lactose-free chocolate, or cool, fruity sorbets.
Enniskillen General Store’s four locations serve Kawartha Dairy ice cream—and the original general store, which started life as a post office in 1840, also features gifts, an LCBO outlet, and homemade butter tarts, which come in plain, raisin, pecan and chocolate flavours. And there’s nothing wrong with combining a tart with some ice cream. Just saying…
Located on the west side of Pelee Island right by the ferry docks, Pelee Island Coneheads is a teeny tiny, brightly coloured shed serving hard ice cream, hot dogs, and for those early morning ferry riders, coffee. All this, and they’ve got a glorious view of Lake Erie that you can enjoy from your spot at one of their picnic tables.
Serving homemade artisanal gelato and ice cream made with local fruits, The Perfect Scoop is a scoop shop like any other. Their flavours are seasonal and rotate frequently, but past flavours have included Creamsicle, Snickers, dairy-free lemon, marshmallow, grapefruit, hazelnut, and, of course, chocolate.
Along with serving Kawartha Dairy ice cream, Momma Bear’s also makes decadent sundaes, and, perhaps most delicious of all, DIY ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies. Not in the mood for ice cream? This shop features a selection of handcrafted chocolate, including the house favourite, chocolate-dipped licorice, and a wide range of retro candies.
Started by a chef-turned-ice-cream-maker, Belly handmakes all the ingredients that go into its wide range of flavours including the marshmallows for the S’mores flavour, the brownies for Obscene Chocolate Brownie, the caramel for Salted Caramel…well, you get the point. Along with traditional ice cream flavours like chocolate and vanilla, Belly’s includes some interesting (and tasty) flavour combinations: Try the basil and lemon, melon with prosecco, or butter tart and Pimm’s Cup sorbet.
What Kawartha Dairy is to folks in northern Ontario, Hewitt’s is to cottagers heading to Lake Erie. Their dairy bar, located on Highway 6 on the way to Port Dover, plus other Lake Erie destinations, was built in 1962—and its now-retro charm hasn’t changed much. Along with more than 60 flavours of traditional ice cream, they also serve goat’s milk ice cream, sweetened with honey, in five flavours, as well as sugar-free ice cream sweetened with maltitol. If you’re hungry, you can have a seat at their lunch counter and snack on a BLT or toasted Western sandwich.
How many ways can you serve ice cream? Scoops offers ice cream in homemade waffle cones, smoothies, Hurricanes (ice cream with mix-ins), sundaes, and even soft serve-style with dips. Whatever your ice cream craving, chances are you can get it at Scoops. In the past, they’ve been known to include unique flavours in their line-up, like beer-flavoured ice cream from Cartwright Springs Brewery.
It’s impossible to miss The Parlour. The bright green house with pink trim stands out in the small town that features two other scoop shops. (There’s Thornton Ice Cream Parlour and Cafe, right across the street.) Along with 65 flavours of hard ice cream, The Parlour features soft ice cream by Flavour Burst, which comes in flavours that go beyond simple vanilla or chocolate—think banana, strawberry, butter pecan, and green apple.
Yes, there really was a Mr. Norm and he really had a nephew who ran this Wasaga Beach favourite until 2020. Now, the shop has new owners, but it still serves up made-to-order frozen yogurt and ice cream. Pick the flavours you want from a wide selection of frozen fruits, candies and cookies, and they’ll blend it up. Favourites include maple cookie frozen yogurt, and, for a refreshingly not-so-sweet treat, lemon ice cream—just a half lemon, no sugar, blended with a brick of ice cream.
Looking for other cottage-country favourites? Check out the 10 best patios you need to visit this summer.