If you’re visiting Wilmington in the summer, prepare for it to be HOT. Ice cream can cool you down. To make sure you’re always close to a frozen treat, check out our list of The Best Ice Cream Shops In Wilmington, NC.
For more help planning your trip to the Cape Fear region, check out all our posts about Wilmington, NC.
Wilmington is a very outdoorsy town with a beautiful riverwalk that tourists love to take advantage of. But, the slight trouble with that is that it’s hot very often in Wilmington. Luckily, there are a bunch of ice cream shops in Wilmington, NC where you can grab a treat to cool down.
There are some that are on the riverwalk, so that’s convenient. A few others are in other parts of the town, so no matter where you are, you’re close to a shop.
I listed all the local and chain shops, just to give this list a bit of completeness.
Planning a trip to Wilmington? Be sure to check out our Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide before you visit.
The Best Ice Cream Shops In Wilmington, NC
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Local Ice Cream Shops In Wilmington, NC
There’s a brief description of each ice cream shop in this category to help you decide where to go.
Boombalatti’s Homemade Ice Cream
Address: 1127 Military Cutoff Rd. (in The Forum Shops) and 1005 N. 4th St. (in The Brooklyn Arts District)
Hours: Daily from noon to 10 pm (both locations)
The coolest thing about Boombalatti’s Homemade Ice Cream is that the ice cream is made from North Carolina, grass fed cows. Each batch is made in Wilmington, so it’s not transported from somewhere far away. And dairy deliveries happen weekly, so each batch of ice cream is super fresh.
Boombalatti’s is a family-run shop with 16 year round flavors and 20+ flavors at any given time. There are vegan/non-dairy coconut milk ice cream options as well (usually six to eight are offered daily), in case you need that.
Address 27 N Front St.
Hours: Daily from 7 am to 3 am
Gourmet Market is a local shop in the center of downtown Wilmington that sells pretty much anything edible: groceries, beer, medicine, and homemade ice cream. When we first moved here, it was the only local place to get ice cream in downtown Wilmington. That changed now, of course, but Gourmet Market still holds a special place in our heart because of that.
Address: 18 S Water St Suite 5
Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 10 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm
Gelarto gets a pass here because the shop doesn’t sell ice cream. It sells gelato. Which is not ice cream. But it just feels wrong if Gelarto isn’t on this list, so here it is.
Gelarto sells over 30 different types of gelato, including vegan options and sorbets. The majority of the gelatos are gluten free too.
The owners have a herd of cows in Italy, and that’s where the milk for the gelato comes from. I don’t really understand all the logistics behind that, but really, do you need to know in order to appreciate the gelato? No, you don’t.
Hoovers Sweets and Treats
Address: 365 N Front St (in The Cotton Exchange)
Hours: Daily: 11 am to 7 pm
Hoovers Sweets and Treats opened in The Cotton Exchange in the location where The Scoop Ice Cream & Cafe used to be. When you enter The Cotton Exchange from Front Street, go straight to the back and it’ll be located on your righthand side.
Just like The Scoop, Hoovers Sweets and Treats sells ice cream and hot dogs. There are a bunch of umbrella’d tables outside the shop where you can sit and enjoy your treats.
Lazy Jack’s Ice Cream Shack
Address: 106 S Water St
Hours: Daily from 11 am to 8 pm
Lazy Jack’s Ice Cream Shack is, quite literally, a shack that sells ice cream in front of Anne Bonny’s bar. It’s located directly on the riverwalk, making it the perfect spot to grab ice cream when you’re walking downtown.
If you don’t want to try and scoop and walk at the same time, you can order one of the shop’s drinks: milkshakes, root beer floats, etc., instead.
Lewis Strawberry Nursery & Farms
Address: 6517 Gordon Rd
Hours: Closed for the season as of June 25, 2022
Lewis Strawberry Nursery & Farms is actually a really cool Wilmington establishment. The locally owned farm sells strawberries (which we had in the filling of one of our wedding cakes), blueberries, and blackberries from the end of March until the beginning of July (it closed a bit earlier this year).
You can purchase the fruit at the farm. And, while you’re there, you can even pick some yourself.
After you’re done harvesting, you can grab a cone of strawberry ice cream made with Lewis Farms strawberries. If you’re planning a trip to Wilmington in the spring, this is a must do activity.
Chain Ice Cream Shops In Wilmington, NC
Address: 3809 Oleander Dr
Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 11 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 10 pm
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Address: 4414 S 17th St
Hours: Daily: 11 am to 10 pm
Buzzed Bull Creamery
Address: 3224 N College Rd
Hours: Thursday to Saturday: 4 pm to 9 pm; Sunday: noon to 8 pm
Quick note: Buzzed Bull Creamery sells alcoholic (“buzzed) and non-alcoholic (“non-buzzed”) ice cream options. Be sure to keep that in mind when you’re ordering.
Cold Stone Creamery
Address: 951 International Dr
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: noon to 9 pm
Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
Address: Oleander Dr. (in front of the mall, next to Firehouse Subs)
Hours: Monday through Friday: 3 pm to 9 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 1 pm to 9 pm
The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar originally opened in Myrtle Beach, SC. The Wilmington location is its ninth. It will be run by a Wilmington family and is slated to opened in February 23.
Address: 5901 Oleander Dr
Hours: Address: 3809 Oleander Dr
Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 11 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 11 pm
Address: 16 Market St
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 11 pm
Other Cool Treats In Wilmington:
If you’re looking for ideas other than ice cream, we have a few for you:
CC’s Frozen Treats is a locally owned ice cream truck that sells soft serve, frozen treats, and Italian ice. The family run business operates three trucks locally, so there’s a chance you’ll come across it when you’re in town.
Fuzzy Peach, a local chain, is a really fun self-serve frozen yogurt bar with multiple locations in Wilmington.
Pelicans SnoBalls is a national chain specializing in New Orleans-style shaved ice.
Where To Stay In Wilmington, NC:
If you’re coming into Wilmington, NC and are planning on drinking at the distilleries, you want to stay in the area. Don’t drive home after you have been drinking. Instead, stay at a hotel.
Check out a few Wilmington hotels and search for availability below.
- Beau Rivage Golf and Resort
- Best Western Plus Coastline Inn
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
- Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington Downtown
- Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach
- Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wilmington
- Hotel Ballast Wilmington
- Staybridge Suites Wilmington East
- Wingate by Wyndham Wilmington
Planning a trip to Wilmington, NC?
If you’re planning to visit Wilmington and these ice cream shops, these other posts will help you plan your trip.
- 24 Hours In Wilmington, NC
- 20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC
- 10 Free Things To Do In Wilmington, NC
- 10 Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC
- Best Cups Of Coffee In Wilmington, NC
- The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina
- The Complete Guide To Distilleries In Wilmington, NC
And, if you’re planning a trip with your significant other, check out some Romantic Things To Do In Wilmington, NC while you’re in town.
Which of these Local Ice Cream Shops In Wilmington, NC are you going to try first?