Need a tried-and-true way to beat the Florida heat? Scoop up your kiddos and cool off with a frozen sweet treat! With so many mom-and-pop ice cream shops out there, grabbing a cone or a sundae is a great way to foster a sense of community and also meet up with other mamas in the area. Below are a few of my favorite ice cream shops (not in any particular order) with my son, Lincoln, along with a few classic favorites.
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice (Mandarin, Orange Park)
I first heard about Jeremiah’s when my local YMCA was giving out free samples. I forgot what flavor I had, but my son and I loved it! We decided to give it a try and checked out the one in Mandarin. They had a long list of different flavors, and it’s a good thing they offer free samples all day long. After our fifth tasting, I settled on the Pina Colada gelati, which is a mixture of Italian ice and ice cream twirled together for a slice of Heaven in your mouth. My son loves anything mango, so he went for that one. The best part? Jeremiah’s has kid-size gelatis just for your little ones!
Bambino Scoops Inc (Arlington)
Bambino Scoops I’m glad I decided to make the trek just to check out this gelato shop! The owner is of European descent, and she makes these lovely foreign cookies, which are also for sale. After much contemplation on whether to get the Pink Guava or Watermelon, I went for the Pink Guava gelato. It was so good! Be sure to eat it right away and skip the Instagram snap if you’re going to eat outside because it will melt fast! The indoor seating is nice as well, as there is a small area for the kids to color. They also host fun events including the occasional storytime — follow them on Facebook to stay in the loop, and be sure to leave a kind post-it note before you head out and stick it on their wall.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier (throughout Northeast Florida)
When I think of Peterbrooke, I think of chocolate-covered popcorn and other gourmet chocolate cookies. Apparently, they recently started offering gelato, which has been a hit among mamas and kiddos alike. Way to go, Peterbrooke — my son and I truly enjoyed your pistachio-flavored gelato!
The Hyppo (Riverside)
Are popsicles even ice cream? In my vocabulary, yes — especially if they’re from Hyppo! My son refers to any popsicles he sees as “Hippo!” I have no shame that we eat these gourmet popsicles often. They are so good, and bravo to them for coming up with a kid-size popsicle made perfectly for little hands and little bellies! They only offer Chocolate, Mango, and Strawberry for the kids, but I’m sure those are enough for their tiny palate. I love all of the flavors, so I don’t have a specific favorite, but you can’t go wrong with “Elvis” if you love peanut butter, banana and honey!
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream (Oakleaf, Arlington, Mandarin)
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream may be a national chain, but I love the one near Oakleaf Plantation! The workers are so nice and cheerful every time we go. My son is currently obsessed with anything dinosaur, so their Dino ice cream was a natural fit, which just consists of a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and a dinosaur cookie on top.
Thaice is a rolled ice cream store–you get to choose your batter and pick 3 toppings if you want to make your own creation or choose from some of their favorite combos off the menu! They will roll out your ice cream on a cold plate and then scrape it up into rolls. Fun for the kids to watch! Jacksonville Moms Blog co-founder, Megan, enjoyed her s’mores off the menu, and her daughter created her own with Oreos and caramel sauce! Yum! I think Thaice’s gorgeously unique presentation of their ice cream is what sets this place apart from the rest.
Mayday Ice Cream (San Marco)
Mayday Ice Cream originated in St. Augustine, Florida. We are so delighted when they opened up a Jacksonville store last Fall where The Hyppo used to be located in San Marco. This place is heavenly and such a treat for any ice cream lover. All of the waffle cones are made fresh in-house! I am yet to try out all of their 24+ flavors, but my favorite ones for now are: Strawberry Fields, Blackberry Earl Grey, Rose White Chocolate, and Denali Postcard!
Here are a few more ice cream shops in town to check out, and if you get here first, let me know your favorite flavor! Be sure to check out this previous ice cream post for MORE local ice cream favorites!
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers (Southside, St John’s Town Center, Orange Park): Get your burger and frozen treat fix with this delicious retro-style chain restaurant!
Whit’s Frozen Custard (Avondale, Mandarin, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Southside): Beat the summer heat at any of their five convenient ice cream stores around town! See why another Jacksonville Mom loves this place on her post.
Le Macaron (Avondale, The Avenues Mall): Word on the street is that they just started offering French gelatos!
Five f(x) Ice Cream (Baymeadows): Great selection of ice cream flavors, and it is fun to watch them make it in front of you. Don’t forget to try out their Nutella or Apple Cinnamon Taiyaki!
Maggie Moos (Orange Park Mall, Southside): Gourmet ice cream, plus fresh-baked cookies? Yes, please.
Marble Slab Creamery (San Marco): Serving up fresh homemade ice cream since 1983!
Magic Sweethouse (Riverside): A Thai ice cream roll? Japanese crepes also? Say no more!
Sweet Pete’s (Downtown): This local legend is known for its gourmet chocolate, caramel, and candy, but they also have a full-size ice cream parlor! Be sure to check out their sweet classes, too.
The Cow in a Cone (Northside): Scooping up unique creamery creations in the form of ice cream and shakes.
Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery (Northside): Fresh-baked cupcakes and delicious homemade ice cream… sign us up!
Chilled Flavors (Ponte Vedra): Offering something for everyone, including nut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free sweet treats.
Pelican’s SnoBalls (Jacksonville Beach): Place is new in town and serves fluffy New Orleans style shaved ice with over 100 flavors and even more toppings! They also offer peanut-free, tree-nut-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and egg-free options.
Cookies and Creme (Jacksonville Beach): Jacksonville Beach is just booming with new ice cream shops! Cookies and Cream specializes in making homemade cookies into ice cream sandwiches.
Cold Stone Creamery (Southside, Northside): Sometimes a yummy creamery chain just hits the sweet spot.
Doughsserts (Gate Parkway): Place is known for its frozen cookie dough desserts, but they do have ice cream available.
Dreamette (Murray Hill): Dreamy ice cream since 1948! More on this community gem on the other post.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, “Ice cream has historically been a key feature of American communities.” So go out there and support your local ice cream shop!