Where to Go for the Best Ice Cream in the Hudson Valley
Because there's nothing better than sitting in the sunshine with a towering waffle cone.
anaumenko / fotolia
Oh ice cream, how we adore thee. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited for the return of ice cream season in the Hudson Valley. It’s a time when roadside dairy bar parking lots fill to the brim and quaint creameries become the coolest places in town. From Albany to Westchester, our Hudson River region is blessed with an abundance of local ice cream shops to satisfy sweet cravings on scorching (or even mildly warm) days.
This summer, make it a point to plan a pit-stop to each and every one of the region’s decadent dairy shops. Not only will you explore new corners of the Hudson Valley, but you’ll get your just desserts, too.
Tucked into an alley off the beaten path, this aptly named locale is the perfect spot for handmade ice cream. With a rotating menu of rambunctious flavors such as Pumpkin 5-Spice, Sweet Corn, Strawberry Pop-Tart, Honeycomb + Chocolate Swirl, and more, this hole-in-the-wall is a great spot for a cold treat that you likely won’t find anywhere else. A selection of vegan options made from a cashew milk base is also available, with flavors like Earl Grey and Cold Brew with Magic Donut.
Located at the top of Mount Peter in Warwick, Bellvale is a welcome reprieve for hikers in need of sweet, creamy fuel. It’s open daily beginning at noon and features signature homemade ice cream in fun flavors like Bellvale Bog (dark chocolate ice cream with brownie dough and fudge swirl) and Blueberry Cheesecake. You can get your scoops in a traditional cone or sundae bowl, but Bellvale’s homemade waffle cones are the only way to go for locals in the know. Because Bellvale is a family creamery, favorite flavors can run out throughout the day. Call ahead to confirm if your top scoops are onsite before you make a visit. P.S. If not, the homemade ice cream pies are a delightful consolation prize too.
This ice cream shop is as homemade as it gets. The milk and cream comes from Hudson Valley Fresh, giving the ice cream, well, freshness. Hard ice cream is the specialty and, with flavors like fresh ginger and grapefruit Campari, The Blue Pig’s got all your niche tastes covered. Hot soup can be found in colder weather and, if you’re looking for specialties, ice cream cakes, sundaes, and root beer floats are where it's at.
Celebrating more than 100 years in business, Boice Bros. is a low-key legend in the Hudson Valley dairy scene. When it comes to ice cream, the local business is bar none. Swing by its Milk House headquarters in Kingston to dive into loaded brownie sundaes, custom ice cream cakes, and, when it’s in season, maple Dole Whip.
With over 30 flavors, Cherries Ice Cream is a hot local spot with a cool inventory. Boasting a full grill menu and fun events like “Hot Dog Month,” Cherries is a great stop for dinner and dessert…or just dessert. Find a range of fun milkshakes like Orange Creamsicle or The Thin Mint or dip your spoon into a specialty sundae like the famous Peanut Butter Dream.
A sweet retreat for the Troy-area crowd, The Dutch Udder has been churning craft ice cream since 2013. Visit for unusual offerings like birthday cake donuts (that’s birthday cake ice cream sandwiched inside a donut), Cookies-n-Irish Cream (which is exactly what you think it is), and apple cider sorbet made with Nine Pin hard cider. Come back often, since flavors rotate regularly, and specials pop up all the time.
A true blast from the past, Four Brothers Drive In is one of the best places to enjoy a cold cone and a hot flick. Roll up to the big screen and order ice cream to be delivered right to your car or stand in line at the shack. The menu boasts a premium selection of locally sourced ice creams. If you’re in the mood for something different, there’s a few specialty sundaes like the Bubby Bubs, which comes with Nutella and a waffle. If you’re more of a milkshake connoisseur, Four Brothers has a unique menu of flavors, such as baklava, espresso, and even wine flavors (take your pick, Cabernet or Pinot Grigio).
Salty caramel pretzel and pear sorbet are just two flavors you might find at this family run ice cream shop. Grab a shake, float, cone, or cup and head to Walkway Over the Hudson, which is located less than a mile away, to get spring started right.
Holy Cow Ice Cream
Holy Cow is iconic. If you grew up in or around Dutchess County, chances are you made multiple trips to the Red Hook sweet spot on the dog days of summer. Inside the shop, prices are low and offerings are ample. Get an old-school sundae with hot fudge sauce and a cherry or keep it classic with a twisty chocolate and vanilla cone. You may have to wait on a line that extends out the door before you can place your order, but we promise the results will be more than worth it.
A newcomer to the Hudson Valley ice cream scene, Homestyle Creamery pairs Homestyle Desserts – its sister shop – pastries with locally made Jane’s ice cream. Whether you get a scoop of vanilla sandwiched between two fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies, frozen cheesecake delights shaped like mini cupcakes, or ice cream cake packed between two hefty layers of cookie dough, you won’t walk away hungry here.
No trip to Peekskill is complete without a stop at The Hudson Creamery. A winner of Westchester Magazine's Best of Westchester Awards, the ice cream shop tempts locals with hand-dipped flavors and signature sundaes that are over-the-top in the best way possible. Dig into the Serafina, with espresso-infused balsamic and strawberries, or enjoy local flavors with the Bee-Licious, which uses Hudson River Apiaries Honey as a natural sweetener.
This family focused ice cream joint has been specializing in making memories with creative treats since 1960. Joe's has it all: soft serve, hard ice cream, sundaes, hot food, and Instagram-famous freak shakes. These made-to-order monsters are piled high with more toppings than you could imagine. The unicorn freak shake, a milkshake flavor of your choice filled with colorful marshmallow drizzle, surrounded by edible confetti, and topped with whipped cream, more marshmallow drizzle, edible dust, and a cupcake impaled on a lollipop is a sight to see.
This stand has been serving up soft ice cream since 1952. It’s no wonder Kurver has everything from cones and banana splits to shakes, flurries, and homemade ice cream cakes. The specialty sundaes like fruit salad and toasted coconut in a homemade waffle bowl are musts if you crave something a little different.
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With locations in Highland and Milton, Lakeside Licks is a classic summertime stop for soft and hard serve, sundaes, and shakes. The soft serve selection is extensive here, which means you’ll have a difficult time choosing between flavors like amaretto, cheesecake, cinnamon, peanut butter, raspberry, and rum, to name only a few. Mix them into a make-your-own sundae or order one of the staff’s specialty versions. At the Highland location only, don’t forget to order a homemade donut from Hole In One Donuts to pair with your scoops.
Cool off at Mickey’s Igloo with a refreshing soft-serve cone featuring a range of flavors such as Tutti Fruity, Butterscotch, Irish Cream and more. For a more experimental dessert, edible cookie dough is available by the scoop, along with ice cream cakes and brownie pizzas. An inclusive selection of non-dairy and sugar-free options are sold as well, so anyone can enjoy all that creamy goodness.
A fan favorite, Moo Moo’s offers almost 100 flavors of hard ice cream. From chocolate do-si-do to walnutella, it has everything you might want, even if you don’t know what that is yet. Stop by after a hike for cool refreshers like Samoa Swirl, Chocolate Walnut, Tiramisu, and more.
A newcomer to Orange County, Mr. Cannoli is the place to go for cannoli and a bounty of Italian ice and sorbet flavors. Grownups in the mood for something sweet need look no further than the wine sorbet. Made with different kinds of reds and whites, this dessert has a ABV of five percent for those looking for a buzz with their bite.
No trip to Woodstock is complete without a visit to Nancy’s creamery. Operated by a Hudson Valley couple, Nancy’s sits on the quieter end of Tinker Street, making it an ideal destination for a sweet bite away from the summertime crowds. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional, vegan, or sorbet scoops, you’ll find them all inside the pretty little shop. Go for the sour cream cherry or the cream cheese carrot cake if you’re in the mood for a hard-serve style. Vegans, meanwhile, will love the mint chocolate chip with a coconut cream base, and dairy-free eaters will be all about the fresh and fruity blackberry basil.
If you’re heading down toward Westchester, don’t pass up a trip to Penny Lick. The Hastings creamery has been scooping up its signature custard-based ice cream, using locally sourced whole milk, eggs, and sugar, since 2013. Nowadays, it serves artisanal options like vegan dark chocolate coconut, lavender truffle, white bourbon caramel, and raspberry lime. Planning a birthday party? Call ahead to order a custom cake that is so much better than any run-of-the-mill Carvel concoction.
Situated just outside Beacon proper, Ron’s is a fan-favorite spot for quirky options like Blue Panda, which is very blue, and Birthday Batter, which packs more rainbow sprinkles into one scoop than you’d expect. Of course, hard ice cream is far from the only chilly delight you’ll find at Ron’s. If you want to switch things up, try crafting a custom ice cream’wich or picking and choosing between flurry flavors.
Snowman has been serving soft and hard ice cream to the city of Troy since the mid-twentieth century. It offers specialty sundaes, hard ice cream flavors like orange pineapple and coffee Oreo, and vegan options. If you give the shop advance notice, it will even bake ice cream pies. With options like grasshopper (mint chocolate chip ice cream, crushed mint cookies, and hot fudge) and samoa (vanilla ice cream, caramel, hot fudge, and toasted coconut), how could anyone resist?
Throughout the Hudson Valley
What would a list of Hudson Valley ice cream spots be without a mention of Stewart’s? The beloved convenience chain is best known for its ice cream, which has something of a cult following among locals in the know. Everyone has a favorite flavor, but top picks include the Brownie Cookie Sundae, Peanut Butter Pandemonium, and Mint Cookie Crumble. Take home a half gallon or hand-packed pint to go or just stop by the closest Stewart’s near you for a cone, brownie sundae, milkshake, or – if you’re really feeling it – a banana split.
This local gem is a great place for a cool-down. Village Creamery is a quality establishment that offers delicious specialty sundaes and addictive homemade ice cream sandwiches. If you’re looking for something savory before the sweet, this Wappingers Falls spot serves hot dogs, burgers, and much more. For animal lovers, buy the Dogwich for a pup in need of some summer style.
Founded in 1956, Weir’s is the retro roadside stand of Instagram dreams. The shop is open from April to September and is locally famous for its homemade hard ice cream and unique soft serve flavors. Order the perfect twist of whatever soft serve options are on the menu for the day (strawberry and blue moon, anyone?) or get a sky-high stack of limited-edition flavors like S’mores or Movie Time, a kettle corn-flavored ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels and a salted caramel swirl.
With a slogan of "from cow to cone in three days," Zoe's doesn't play around when it comes to fresh, farm-to-table ice cream. The LaGrangeville barn is a mecca for locals on hot days, thanks to its creamy dreamy cones that pair perfectly with lunch specials like burgers and grilled cheese. The hard flavors change daily, and seasonal options include strawberry peach cobbler, peach, and sweet corn.
If you’re craving fun flavors in a nostalgic location, look no further than Blueberry Mountain. Open since 1985, this Orange County favorite is the place to go for a fun evening. Homemade waffle cones and a wide range of flavors make it a hit for the whole family, and an 18-hole mini golf course allows for more than just a quick cone. Try the famous blue raspberry and marshmallow “Smurf” flavor, or chow down on a refreshing flavored soft serve.