Best Ice Cream Shops in Charleston SC

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If you’re in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, and not indulging in its divine ice cream scene, you're doing something wrong. In a city that blends old-world charm with modern sophistication, these creamy delights perfect for a balmy summer’s day of sightseeing are the cherry on top of the perfect Sunday out in Charleston. 

Sweet tooth activated? Feel yourself salivating already? Perfect! Then it’s time to go on a sugar-coated journey to discover the best ice cream shops in Charleston — from cookie dough to cheesecake, from peanut butter to pecan, from fudge to sprinkles on top. 

All these shops will have you screaming for…well, you know the rest! Let’s ditch the Baskin Robbins and get creamy with it. 

Can’t Beat the Classics

There are so many incredible ice cream joints to choose from in Charleston, and one of the easiest ways to make your list a little less overwhelming is to separate your ice cream wishlist into different sections. 

So to start your sugar-coated journey, let’s talk about some of the classic ice cream venues in Charleston. These parlors are as classic as an Audrey Hepburn little black dress. 

Belgian Gelato

First stop: Belgian Gelato. Known for its traditional, silky gelato with flavors that'll transport you straight to Europe — darling, it's practically a transatlantic flight without leaving King Street! 

From Pistachio to Stracciatella, every scoop is a passport stamp of deliciousness. And if you want to indulge in further sweet treats that have come from abroad, Belgian Gelato also makes delicious mini puff pancakes, also known as poffertjes — a tiny Dutch pancake dusted with powdered sugar that’s guaranteed to make the perfect companion to your delicious gelato.

Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe

Next, we're hitting up Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe, a staple since 1972. They've been churning out happiness, scooping it up, and dashing it into a cone longer than most of us have been strutting our fabulousness on this Earth. 

Their Banana Split is legendary, a dessert that both reminds you of childhood and challenges even your most voracious adult appetite with its size and scale. And when should you visit? Anytime is ice cream o'clock, but for the smallest crowds, try swinging by in the early afternoon. 

Park Circle Creamery

Meet Park Circle Creamery. Tucked away on E Montague Ave in North Charleston, this spot is the epitome of homey charm, doling out from-scratch ice cream flavors that are as comforting as a warm hug. Ever tried honey lavender or avocado ice cream? 

If not, brace yourself for a revelation. Visit on a sunny afternoon for maximum vibe absorption. It's as quaint as a Wes Anderson film and every bit as delightful.

Ice Cream Innovators Worth a Visit

Once you’ve had your fill of Charleston’s classic ice cream offerings, it’s time to let down your hair a bit and get a little crazy…let’s talk about some ice cream innovators in this thriving city that will blow your mind with their flavorful concoctions. 

Onward to the trailblazers, the shops that have dared to imagine ice cream beyond Vanilla and Chocolate. 

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

First up, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on King St. Don’t let the name fool you — splendid is a serious understatement when it comes to Jeni’s frozen confections. Known for their creative and oh-so-yummy flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Jeni’s ice cream offerings will make your taste buds think they’ve died and gone to heaven.

While Jeni’s is a national chain, the ice cream is so good and so unique that it deserves a spot on your tour of Charleston’s ice cream scene anyway. They're all about quality ingredients sourced from the cream of the crop (pun totally intended). 

Off Track Ice Cream

Let’s also shine a spotlight on Beaufain St classic, Off Track Ice Cream. This spot is so cool, it should come with its own theme song. 

Their handcrafted flavors, which are a mix of classics and rotating seasonal specials, will make you feel like you've discovered the eighth wonder of the world. Dairy-free darling? They've got vegan ice cream options that are every bit as delightful. 

They also pride themselves on using local and sustainable ingredients, making every scoop a testament to their commitment to Mother Earth. Can I get an amen?

Hope you're not tired, honey, because we're just getting started! There's more creamy goodness to be found in Charleston, and you know I'm gonna spill the tea...or should I say, scoop the ice cream!

Local Favorites

Eating like a local is one of the best ways to experience a new city when you travel. It means you get to sample drinks and savor foods that your average tourist might never discover. It allows you to come away from a new city with a list of recommendations that will awe even the most dedicated travel bug.

Ready to feel like a true Charlestonian? Let's venture into the ice cream shops that locals rave about. These places are as essential to Charleston as a good hat is to the Kentucky Derby.

Ice Cream Team

First on the roster is The Ice Cream Team. This isn't just your average ice cream shop…it's a moving feast of frosty goodness! This ice cream truck is a local legend, serving up the most heavenly soft serve this side of the Mason-Dixon line. 

Be sure to sample their hand-dipped chocolate vanilla swirl — it's a classic done right. Here's a tip: they're usually parked by the Waterfront Park in the evening, which is honestly ideal. 

Nothing beats watching the sunset over the water with a waffle cone in hand. And if you’re looking for the Ice Cream Team, take a peek at their social media to try to figure out their moves so you can end a long walking tour of the city with the perfect scoop.


Finally, we have Kaminsky's on S Market St, a delectable Charleston dessert cafe, so we’re not talking just ice cream — we’re talking everything you could possibly imagine if its main ingredient is sugar at your fingertips, plusice cream. 

If you've got a sweet tooth, prepare to meet your match. While this dessert cafe is renowned for their mile-high cakes and rich milkshakes, don't miss their ice cream. 

Served on a slice of pie or all on its lonesome, it's a dream come true. If you're feeling adventurous, try their late-night ice cream martinis. Yeah, you heard right — dessert and a nightcap in one. What more could you ask for?

Whew! With all these delightful ice cream spots, it's clear Charleston knows a thing or two about the sweet life. But hold on to your spoons, sugar, because we still have more to scoop up in the next sections!

Honorable Mentions

  • Peace Pie
  • Republic Ice Cream (Sullivan’s Island)
  • Marble Slab Creamery

Ice Cream Festivals and Events in Charleston

Now, imagine an event where the star of the show is ice cream. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, in Charleston, dreams come true! 

The CharlestonIce Cream Festival is the highlight of every local and visitor's summer calendar. Held annually in July, it's a two-day event dedicated to all things ice cream. Food trucks, local shops, and even homemade ice cream makers gather to show off their frosty treats. 

There's everything from traditional scoops to ice cream tacos…yes, tacos! Picture it: strolling under the Southern sun, surrounded by Charleston's historic charm, with a double scoop of your favorite flavor. Paradise found, wouldn't you agree?

And then there's the oh-so-sweet Strawberry Festival, where the local berries meet cream in the most delightful way. Held every May at Boone Hall Plantation, this festival celebrates the berry season with an array of desserts, and yes, that includes ice cream. Freshly churned strawberry ice cream is the star here — it's like biting into a fresh berry, but better. Because, well…it's ice cream!

The Final Lick

Well, there you have it, the full scoop on Charleston's ice cream scene — a world as colorful and inviting as a double rainbow. From classics to innovators, from hidden gems to locals' favorites, and fabulous frosty events, there's a sweet treat for everyone in this charming city.

But remember, this is just a guide. The best part about exploring the ice creamparlors of Charleston is making it your own adventure. Discovering a new flavor, finding your favorite spot, or trying an ice cream you never thought you'd love — that's the real magic.

So, grab a spoon, my sweet friends, and get ready to dive headfirst into the delightful world of Charleston's ice cream. Whether you're a Vanilla devotee, a Chocolate connoisseur, or an Avocado ice cream adventurer, get ready for a sugar-coated journey that's as delightful as a sundae on a Sunday. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start tasting!


History | The Pofferie

Belgian Gelato | Instagram

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream


Ice Cream Team

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