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We all scream for it. Don’t we? Ice cream is the one thing in our family we can all agree on! And when we are on vacation, we seek out the best ice cream in that destination. When it comes to ice cream in Door County, there are many places to choose from, but we think these are among the best of the best. As you are about to read and see, you have your choice of ice cream, custard, or gelato (from goats.) Or if you want to live your best life in the Door, you’ll try them all!

Wilson’s: The iconic Door County ice cream experience

Let’s start at Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim. You can’t miss it. Right off the highway, the red and white awnings beckon you to stop at this more than 100 year old establishment. The old fashioned soda fountain has juke boxes that play the classics and ice creams that range from the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to locally inspired flavors such as Door County Cherry Cheesecake. I also highly recommend “Sneakers,” a flavor that brings me back to the mid 80’s. If ice cream isn’t your jam, you can order up a slice of Door County cherry pie!

For the DiSalvo family, it’s a summer tradition to take the whole family to Wilsons. Not only do the girls love the ice cream they also love the root beer on tap. All ages love the burgers and onion rings. And mom and dad love that all the tips go to the employee’s college funds. From there, playtime at the park or a nice walk along the waterfront. The perfect spot to catch a summer sunset.

Not Licked Yet: For frozen custard and a giant playground

For some of my Door County friends, summer unofficially begins when the “open” flag goes up at Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard in Fish Creek. At a recent stop there during the 2024 Memorial Day Weekend, the line was deep. Guess the word was out about the frozen custard.

The line at Not Licked Yet, Memorial Day Weekend 2024

The flavors are not as extensive as they are at Wilson’s. You can get chocolate, vanilla, butter pecan and the special flavor of the day, but the combinations and sundae options are numerous. Keep an eye on their Facebook page so you don’t miss out on your favorite special flavor! Enjoy a meal while you’re here, sitting on the patio, and watching the kids entertain themselves by the stream or on the giant playground. And yes, you can get a slice of cherry pie here, too!

Door County Creamery: Goat’s milk gelato

That’s right. Our favorite spot for ice cream in Sister Bay does not even serve ice cream. At Door County Creamery, the frozen treat is a gelato made with Door County goat milk! It’s handcrafted daily and contains half the fat of traditional ice cream (if that makes you feel better.)

We love the unique flavors which sometimes include Stracciatella, Roasted Almond and Fig, Lemon Cookie, Goat Cheese & Honey and Amarena Cherry. In the summertime, you’ll often see the baby goats hanging outside. And inside, sandwiches, wines, cheese and gifts for the goat lover in your life. Try the cheve. It’s something you didn’t know you were missing in your life. Bring it as a hostess gift. Or save it and savor it for yourself.

Frosty Tip: For the trip back home

Kids getting restless after an hour in the car? At least once a summer we promise a stop at the Frosty Tip in Dyckesville, just south of Door County. Known for their soft serve twisted and piled way too high on a con. Top it with candies or crunchies and grab a lot of napkins. If the drive ahead is long, order some burgers and fries to go. They also have a newly expanded outdoor seating area and free doggy sundaes.

But obviously there’s more..

The above are longtime family favorite Door County ice cream stops. But that doesn’t mean those are the only ones worth visiting! The kids have often stopped in at Sara’s Artisan Gelato in Fish Creek. And you can’t go wrong with Door County Ice Cream Factory on the north end of Sister Bay. The summer is young. And our ice cream needs are long. Our friends at Destination Door County have a full list of all the places serving ice cream up and down the peninsula. Enjoy! And happy summer!

Include a stop on the Door County ice cream trail during your next getaway with Northern Door Vacations!

Rae