While we ask our readers to pick the best of the best each year in more than 100 Best of New Hampshire categories, there are many other worthy and outstanding favorites for each category, ranging from pizza to cupcakes and garden centers to home decor shops. New Hampshire Magazine wants to make sure these reader favorites get their own moment in the spotlight and we encourage you to check them out!
Have a craving for a smooth soft serve or topping-filled cone? Look no further than below for the best ice cream spots in the Granite State, including homemade favorites and creative twists.
164 Loudon Rd., Concord
Arnie’s serves up finger-licking burgers, barbecue and decadent homemade ice cream. Their ice cream menu is over 25 flavors long.
They also offer both pre-decorated and custom ice cream cakes, each featuring vanilla and chocolate soft serve with fudge and cake crunch inside. Getting a frozen treat for someone special? Ask for a personal message to be written on one of the pre-made cakes, or place a completely custom order a few days before your special event.
Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream
209 New Hampshire Rte 103, Sunapee
Sanctuary Dairy Farm is so much more than an ice cream shop – but that’s pretty great too. They offer a year round farmstand, areas to hike or picnic, and many other activities for the whole family. “A place where kids can be kids and grown-ups can join in!”
In terms of the ice cream, they offer an alphabet-long list of flavors, from Apple Pie to Lemon Cookie to Orange Pineapple and more. There are also dairy free, sugar free, gelato and low-fat options available.
Moose Alley Cones
3 Partridge Rd., Pittsburg
Open May to October, this quaint spot is located on the First Connecticut Lake, within the Partridge Cabins property. They recently opened for their 27th year of sweet treats and summer smiles.
Moose Alley boasts a large flavor menu, and many specialty sundaes. Try the Muddy Moose, two scoops of your choice combined with brownie and hot fudge, all in a waffle bowl. Brought a crowd or feeling especially hungry? Try the Banana Bucket, which includes six scoops as well as toppings of your choice. Be on the lookout for daily specials as well, such as The Covered Bridge: a vanilla soft serve-stuffed cannoli with chocolate chips, hot fudge and whipped cream.
Jordan’s Ice Creamery
894 Laconia Rd., Belmont
Come to Jordan’s for the service, the delicious eats, and the family run atmosphere. They make over 150 (!) flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sugar-free options. Try the salted caramel cookies and cream for a decadent bite, or the childhood favorite Cookie Monster.
In the mood to switch up your order? There are frappes, flurries, cakes, pies, homemade waffle cones and more. Ice cream is also available for take-home purchase, to enjoy even when Jordan’s is closed. Be on the lookout for daily and holiday specials as well!
The Puritan Backroom
245 Hooksett Rd., Manchester
While they may be known first for delicious chicken tenders, The Puritan also boasts some delicious options to satisfy your summer sweet tooth. Complete your meal with a scoop of their homemade ice cream – or two or three.
Try the popular Baklava flavor, a vanilla and cinnamon flavored ice cream base featuring honey, walnuts and pieces of baklava. Or, go for a more traditional Cookie Dough, Moose Tracks or Rum Raisin. You can’t go wrong with anything from this longtime Manchester staple restaurant.
346 Rte. 13, Brookline
Check out this relatively new Brookline spot for smooth, creamy soft serve ice cream. They get creative with menu options, from a chocolate soft serve Oreo “dirt” sundae for Earth Day, to Ice Cream Nachos, which include waffle cone chips, your choice of three flavors, toppings, 1 sauce, rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream.
This family-owned business is more than just that, it’s also recently acted as a wedding venue. They’ve also hosted events such as Family Fun Day, which included a bounce house, balloon animals, face painting, yard games, a petting zoo, music and more.
Kimball Farm Jaffrey
158 Turnpike Road (Rt. 124), Jaffrey
This is a scoop shop with history! In 1939, Jack and Clara Kimball converted a family woodshed into an ice cream parlor, serving specialties like maple walnut for five cents. Today, their grandson runs the farm, and there are four locations in total – three in Massachusetts.
Grab dinner from their grill and seafood menu, peruse their country store gift shop to make some room in your belly, then select a delicious ice cream option to end the perfect evening. Go for a classic like Frozen Pudding, or try something a little newer such as French Toast or Malted Milkball. They also have frozen yogurt, vegan, sherbet, sorbet and sugar-free options.
336 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack
By proclaiming their product is the “best soft serve ice cream you’ve ever had,” King Kone has set the bar pretty high for themselves.
Play it safe with one of their everyday options: vanilla, chocolate or twist. Feeling adventurous? Go for one of the rotating specials such as Creamsicle, coconut chocolate, cake batter, coffee cake, banana-berry, black raspberry, peanut butter and jelly, coffee, java berry or blackberry vanilla twist. Delish!
Don’t forget to grab a pup cup for your furry friend!
Moo’s Place Homemade Ice Cream
Locations in Derry and Salem
Give the self-proclaimed “New Hampshire’s Finest Homemade Ice Cream” a try and see for yourself if Moo’s takes the cake – or, takes the ice cream. The menu is lengthy, with hard flavors including Caramel Turtle, M&M, Cotton Candy and Purple Cow. Soft flavors include Cheesecake, German Chocolate, Pina Colada and Rootbeer. Yum!
They often announce new specials on Facebook, so be on the lookout there for your next ice cream flavor fixation.
Hayward’s Ice Cream
Locations in Nashua and Merrimack
Hayward’s has been supporting local farmers and serving up delicious scoops since 1940. They’ve been family-owned and operated from the start, including additions and innovations throughout the years. Enjoy lunch or dinner, or skip straight to dessert with one of their many indulgent flavors.
The Appalachian Trail flavor features an espresso ice cream base with Heath Bar pieces and a fudge swirl. Not a chocolate lover? Consider the Banana Cream Pie flavor, a banana ice cream base swirled with buttercream icing and graham cracker crunch. Embracing your roots a little extra today? Try the “Kangamangus,” a vanilla ice cream base featuring chocolate covered pretzels and caramel swirl.
Jay Gee’s Ice Cream
327 S. Broadway, Salem
A rainbow of tasty flavors greets you at Jay Gee’s, open year round in Salem with an ice cream stand open on the weekends. Hard ice cream options include Black Raspberry Oreo, Confetti Cake Batter and Toll House Cookie. There’s also a lengthy seasonal menu, with flavors like Easter Basket and Eggnog. There are also yogurts, soft serve flavors, and ice cream cakes available for purchase. All of their treats are homemade and ready to be enjoyed with a big smile.
They also offer outdoor activities, a fun center and an arcade, though it is currently under renovation. The Fun Center features bumper cars, games and even prizes. You can even host your birthday party here. Fun for all!
Lago’s Ice Cream
71 Lafayette Rd., Rye
Lago’s is a Seacoast seaside favorite for the whole fam. Boasting “five decades of flavor,” this Rye spot is open daily for the 2022 season. Their website features a fun timeline of the shop’s history, including its “Big Scoop” roots and favorite flavor creations.
Choose a cone, sundae, frappe, banana split or another vessel and pick your favorite flavors – or a few of them. Try the Cappuccino Slam for a caffeine kick, or go for something unique like the Funky Panda, an Oreo ice cream with toasted coconut and caramel, or the Salty Sailor, salted caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels, to have an authentic Lagos experience.
Bishop’s Homemade Ice Cream
183 Cottage S.t, Littleton
Up north and looking for a sweet scoop? Look no further than Bishop’s! They offer over 60 rotating homemade flavors, as well as frozen yogurt and dairy-free options.
Try a fun sundae like Whoopie Pie or Butterscotch, or stick with a more traditional hot fudge or banana split variety. Flavors include Chocolate Chip, Cotton Candy Crunch, Reese’s Pieces, Maple, Mint Chip and many more. Complete your treat with a delicious waffle cone, some sprinkles, or both. They also offer delicious ice cream cakes by order throughout the year to satisfy your sugar fix, even in the winter.