If you're on the road this year, keep these amazing ice cream shops in mind.

It’s that time of year again! McDonald’s is releasing its seasonal sweet treat, the Shamrock Shake and people are having emotions. Every year, the fast-food giant brings back their St. Paddy’s Day milkshake masterpiece, which is composed of vanilla soft serve, peppermint, and a whole lot of nostalgia. While I am a fan of the Shamrock Shack, it got me thinking about all the excellent, locally owned and operated ice cream shops right here in North and South Carolina.

No shade to the Golden Arches, but these shops offer unique flavor creations and local ingredients. Plus, it’s always a good practice to support your local businesses.

According to Chef’s Store:” Local establishments do more than just make great food. They impact our culture in positive ways—from the economy to sustainability. Here are five ways aiding your favorite local restaurants can benefit everyone. Locally owned restaurants are more likely to contribute financially to their neighborhoods. Based on past studies, independent businesses give 250 percent more to community-based non-profits and causes. By giving back to the community, dollars are funneled back into the local economy, providing more security and stability. Because restaurants also employ a large population, food service employees can contribute to other local restaurants and businesses, further boosting the community’s economy. independent restaurants are more likely to cook from the heart, which means a wealth of unique menus. Access to diverse flavors and dining experiences means the market doesn’t become stagnant or saturated. 41 percent of restaurant entities are owned and operated by minority groups. Dining at local joints can also help support minority and women-owned businesses, which is another way to encourage diversity and strengthen community ties.”

Sounds good to me! Let’s check out where the best local ice cream is hiding!

  • The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar- Myrtle Beach, SC

    Home to some of the biggest, wildest and most delicious creations on the beach I present The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar! Tourists and locals alike clammer for these outrageous concoctions that look like they were designed during a Willy Wonka fever dream. While not exactly a mom-and-pop joint, they do offer multiple locations in select areas around the country, they certainly stand out in the ice cream creativity realm.

  • The Mad Hatters Ice Cream Shop- Fayetteville, NC

    I adore this shop! It’s a family favorite with unique flavors and amazing customer service.  The cozy shop has a whimsical Alice in Wonderland vibe and decor and some of the most delightful flavors, like the White Rabbit (sugar free vanilla), Unbirthday Cake (birthday cake ice cream with bright blue frosting swirl and confetti colored cake pieces) and Playdough (Bright yellow vanilla ice cream with hot pink and blue sugar cookie gems.)  Don’t miss out on this charming shop, there are many more flavors and treats to be had!

  • Front Porch Creamery- Danbury, NC

    If you find yourself headed toward the mountains, make sure you stop at this local treasure!



  • S & T's Soda Shoppe- Pittsboro. NC

    Who doesn’t love the vintage of a classic soda shop? Offering more than just ice cream, there is a full menu and while everything is wonderful the ice creams are truly mouthwatering.  With ice cream sundaes as big as your head, better bring the whole crew to get the job done.


  • The Local Scoop- Charlotte, NC

    If you find yourself in Charlotte, you have to treat yourself to The Local Scoop! Heavy on the local ingredients and fresh made flavors daily, they offer a nice selection of non-dairy options as well.


  • Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream- Cary, NC

    Andia and George, the creators of this delectable establishment both hail from traditional Greek families and bring that legacy and pride into each flavor they create.  With fun ice cream adventures such as ice cream flavor “flights”  (six mini scoops of whatever flavor you would like to try), this is trying an adventure in dessert. It’s no wonder they have brought home so many awards!


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