Ice cream made with dairy fresh from the farm? We’ve got it. How about over 160 flavors? Got that, too. Have you ever tried sweet corn ice cream? Now is your chance! In Michigan, there’s an abundance of excellent ice cream parlors—some so good they’re considered the best in the country. Next time you’re craving a cone, check out one of our 10 favorite ice cream parlors in the state.
Might as well start off with a bang, and not surprisingly, it's found in Traverse City. Moomers Homemade Ice Cream Parlor represents not only one of Michigan's best, but also the best in the United States based on a USA Today study. USA Today noted the 160 total flavors found at Moomers with 20 such options available daily. That's big enough, but given it was also rated best on “Good Morning America” in 2008, that's just the cherry on top, if you'll forgive the obvious pun.
With locations in Nashville and Ionia, MOO-Ville Creamery offers ice cream made with milk so fresh that it comes from the dairy farm located not far from the actual ice cream parlor itself. That would be a great start enough with even simple flavors, but MOO-Ville’s flavors go well beyond vanilla and chocolate. Check out the Baconator, made with chunks of bacon coated in brown sugar, or the Hocus Pocus, a sundae made using, of all things, liquid nitrogen.
Head up to Ludington, or Manistee for this one, a company that makes over 25 million gallons of ice cream annually using 3,400 different ice cream recipes developed over 79 years. Home of the current world record holder for longest ice cream dessert, House of Flavors is perhaps best known for its Blue Moon, a unique flavor said to be “...remarkably like Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles.”
Should you be anywhere near Sand Lake in Nottawa, you'll be doing yourself a serious favor to stop in at the Sand Lake Party Store. Self-described “Home of the Big Cone,” Sand Lake is a personal favorite of mine for its variety of ice cream flavors served in your choice of waffle or sugar cone. That alone wouldn't be enough to distinguish it, however, if it weren't for the fact that what Sand Lake lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in quantity. Even the medium “Just Enough” cones are high enough to require two grown man's fists to grip—if you wanted to grab ice cream—and thus makes a dizzying value.
The MSU Dairy—which is an offshoot of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources—manages to combine the development of dairy products with a terrific ice cream, and serves it to the community. Featuring such treats as the Maize and Berry Pie, the Buckeye Blitz and the Huskers Sweet Corn—made with actual corn—the MSU Dairy delivers exciting new options while educating the next generation of dairy professionals.
A quick look at the website for Ferndale's Treat Dreams reveals some noteworthy points immediately, like the big “Now Serving Vegan Ice Cream !!!” right at the top, complete with three exclamation points. That's a big point right there, but a look at the menu is downright staggering. Ever wonder what ice cream would taste like if it involved lemon extra virgin olive oil? How about jalapenos? Chocolate covered potato chips? All this and more is waiting out at Treat Dreams!
Producing dairy products since 1933, Cook's Farm Dairy in Ortonville delivers on a promise to offer farm-fresh milk with drive-thru window convenience. The ice cream, meanwhile, features both year-round and seasonal specialties like the peppermint stick, caramel apple and the pumpkin crunch. Meanwhile, available year-round are flavors like Cow Pie—a mix of dark chocolate, caramel and cashews—and the raspberry chocolate torte.
Vicksburg's Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor is home to a wide array of exciting options. From the homemade pasties and dinner options to the full-service coffeehouse, there's no shortage of most anything at Apple Knockers. The king, however, is the ice cream, as the place boasts over 50 flavors, alongside a variety of ice cream-based desserts going all the way to ice cream cakes. From gluten-free ice cream to the turtle sundae to the eponymous Apple Knocker—caramel apple nut pie in a waffle bowl topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel, whipped cream and a cherry—most everything you could ask for is right here.
Currently in Marquette, Jilbert Dairy proves Michigan's love of ice cream by being located in one of the coldest parts of the state. Boasting such impressive flavors as Mackinac Island fudge, Jilbert Dairy supplies milk and cream to not only its own range of goodies, but also for Dean's and even several flavors of Ben and Jerry's. Have a pint of Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby lately? It's a safe bet you're eating Michigan ice cream.
It's hard to imagine a lake town without ice cream, and Captain Nemo's in South Haven will deliver in a big way. Offering Sherman's Ice Cream, which has been made for over 100 years, Captain Nemo's will deliver ice cream and fun in equal doses for those looking for a frosty treat on a hot day. Michigan does get its share of those, of course, and that will make Captain Nemo's a great place to take a break.