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There’s nothing quite like getting an ice cream cone while taking a walk along the beach. Whether you live on Cape Cod or you’re just visiting, you know that it’s a destination for seafood shacks, strolls along the shore, and yes, good scoops. From Sandwich to Provincetown, Cape Cod villages have many shops you’ll simply have to stop by to cool off — or to sample their interesting flavors.
We asked Boston.com readers to name their favorite spots to get ice cream on the Cape, and over 1,000 readers responded this year. Last summer, we received over 3,500 votes, for a total of more than 4,500 votes in the past two years.
We have a winner: Sundae School Ice Cream in Harwich Port and Dennisport took the lead in 2022, earning 22% of the vote. Below, we’ve put together a guide to the top five places to get a cup or cone, along with a map of your recommendations. Look further down to see a complete list of every parlor you told us about.
A 🏆 means that this shop was among the top 5 in 2021 and 2022.
Gourmet ice cream graces the menu at Cape Cod Creamery, which took 7% of the vote. The shop, which has locations in Dennis, Hyannis, and South Yarmouth, aims to make a denser product with less air filling it, allowing for more flavor in each bite. You’ll notice that the names of the ice creams — like Craigville Caramel Crunch and Chapin Cherry Chocolate — come from different towns and spots along the Cape and islands. Some readers commended the creative flavors and noted that the ice cream sandwiches are worth trying, as well. Christine H. from Dennis noted: “Freshest ingredients, smooth textures, generous portions, amazing blend and delicious!”
716 Main St., Dennis; 645 Iyannough Road, Hyannis; 5 Theater Colony Road,
Don’t miss out on Smitty’s, the go-to place for rich ice cream along the Cape. Earning 8% of the vote, these parlors, which have been in business since 1992, are an institution in the area. Fan favorites are the ginger ice cream with hot fudge, the cookie dough in a waffle cone, and the orange sherbet. With locations in East Falmouth, Mashpee, and Barnstable, the shops are run by Richard Smith — who gave them their name — and while he often employs students to work there, Smith will happily dish out a dessert to customers himself. As an anonymous reader said: “[Smith] is the BEST ice cream shop owner you’ll ever meet! He’s often found scooping ice cream behind the counter with a smiling face and friendly ‘hello’!”
326 East Falmouth Highway, East Falmouth; 538 Falmouth Road, Mashpee; 3261 Main St., Barnstable
A blacksmith shop-turned-ice cream parlor — that’s the story behind Four Seas, which is located in Centerville and has served treats since 1934. A quarter mile from some of the Cape’s loveliest beaches, the shop serves traditional flavors and a few original ones, like chip chocolate (created with melted chocolate that hardens when it hits the ice cream) and penuche pecan, which gets its taste from brown sugar. Four Seas took 9% of the vote. Readers told us that they love the lemon crisp, black raspberry, and mocha chip. Heather from Hyannis said: “I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. The owner, Doug, is awesome! His staff is always friendly! No matter what you get here, you’ll never be disappointed!”
360 S Main St., Centerville
A pink and white cottage in Mashpee, with outdoor picnic tables, is serving some of Cape Cod’s best ice cream, according to Boston.com readers, who gave Polar Cave 15% of the vote. Their flavors, some of which come from recipes that are over 100 years old, are the stuff of dreams: Look to the Arctic Landslide, which swirls together marshmallow, dark chocolate chips, and almonds. Then there’s the Cara Van Truffle, sea salt caramel flavored ice cream, with caramel swirls and mini truffles. An anonymous reader said: “The ice cream is creamy and delicious. The homemade, made-to-order cones are unbelievable, and there’s a marshmallow at the bottom to keep the ice cream from dripping out of the cone.”
22 Falmouth Road, Mashpee
There’s no doubt about it — readers are enthusiastic about Sundae School, with its two spots in Dennisport and Harwich Port. Ice cream and frozen yogurt is made there in small batches. Readers said they have many fond childhood memories of Sundae School, which first opened its doors in 1976, and that the shops evoke a sense of nostalgia for many guests. They praised the hot fudge sundae and flavors like coffee Oreo and pistachio, made with real nuts. An anonymous reader said: “I order maple walnut ice cream in a dish with chocolate sprinkles. I love this place because it says summer. People from all over are there on a warm summer evening. Everyone is in good spirits, except the exhausted toddlers, after a vacation day…”
Sundae School was readers’ top pick for the past two years, and owner Paul Endres told us what he thinks makes the shops so special.
“It’s a cliche, everybody says we use the best ingredients, but we use real pistachio nuts. We use pure vanilla extract from Madagascar,” Endres said. “Where we really do a good job is the sundaes; we use fresh fruit. The girls slice strawberries everyday. Hot fudge sundaes are still our No. 1 seller. We make our own whipped cream, and we make a bowl at a time. … We kind of do it in front of the customers, so they see it being made. There’s nothing like homemade whipped cream.”
606 Main St., Route 28, Harwich Port; 381 Lower County Road, Dennisport
Ice Cream Smuggler: In East Dennis, the Smuggler, which took 9% of votes in 2021, serves up flavors like butter crunch and orange pineapple, as well as vegan options. 1555 MA-6A, East Dennis
Somerset Creamery: The family-owned shops, which gathered 6% of votes in 2021, have been dishing out strawberry shortcake sundaes, banana splits, and more, along with their regular list of ice cream flavors. Multiple locations
A ⭐️ means that this shop was voted among the top 5 at some point over the past two years.
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