Finding an ice cream shop in Michigan is the easy part. Finding one that offers a true experience is worth the hunt. Connoisseurs may want to craft their own ice cream crawl, starting with these favorites.

Go! Ice Cream, Ypsilanti

Tucked in a downtown alley, Go! is handcrafting artisan ice cream from the freshest ingredients. The Sweet Browned Butter ice cream in a handmade waffle cone with a drizzle of peanut butter sauce is a must—or go dairy-free with sorbet. Ice cream floats are made with homemade soda from the old-fashioned soda fountain named Audrey.

Jilbert Ice Cream Parlor, Marquette

This Upper Peninsula dairy has been churning out ice cream for generations. Enjoy a scoop of the Amaretto Cherry Mackinac Island Fudge or the Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake in the cozy indoor seating area, or outside the big red barn next to Jilly, the towering cow statue.

Love’s Ice Cream, Grand Rapids

Made from scratch using locally-sourced, organic ingredients and grass-fed dairy, Love’s ice cream flavors include Peppermint Stick with house-made candy. Vegans will adore Love’s non-dairy, vegan gelato like Cardamom Orange Blossom and Lavender Blueberry gelato.

MOO-ville, Nashville

Have down-on-the-farm fun on a self-guided tour of this family-run dairy, and get up close to the animals at the Petting Farm. More than 80 flavors in rotation at MOO-ville include CinnaMoo, How Now Brown Cow and Baconator, maple ice cream with real bacon pieces.

Moomers, Traverse City

A short jaunt west of Traverse City, this family operation offers over 160 flavors, with 20 rotated on a daily basis. Try the Cosmo, Mooberry or one of five cherry concoctions (this is the Cherry Capital!). Take the store and farm tours for a behind-the-scenes peek at how the ice cream is made, or simply enjoy your cone while watching the cows graze at the adjoining pasture.

MSU Dairy, East Lansing

Located on the campus of Michigan State University, MSU Dairy has its Food Science and Human Nutrition departments behind the creation of the creamiest ice cream. You can’t go wrong with one of their top five flavors: Buckeye Blitz, Sesquicentennial Swirl, Dantonio’s Double Fudge Fake, Mint Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Insider scoop: the best time to hit a rare short line is on cold snowy days or when students are on break.

Ray’s Ice Cream, Royal Oak

It’s worth the wait for a stool at the authentic soda fountain, where you soak in the retro vibe of the ice cream parlor over a scoop, shake or sundae. The metro Detroit sweet spot has been in the family since 1958.

Sherman’s Ice Cream, South Haven

Sherman’s has been scooping up old-fashioned ice cream since 1916. Made one batch at a time with no high-tech equipment, each of the more than 40 creamy flavors is handcrafted and loaded with the best ingredients. The Pig’s Dinner is a Sherman’s tradition, with sliced banana, four scoops of ice cream and four toppings served in a wooden trough.

This article originally appeared in the 2018 spring/summer issue of Experience Michigan magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.

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Deb Thompson shares tales of girlfriend getaways, solo travel and wine and culinary experiences. She creates travel content at and is the co-owner of Social Influencer Media.

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