The first thing most people do when planning their trip is research exciting things to do at their destination— and Nantucket vacationers are no different.
Nothing says summer quite like a tall, twisted cone after a long day at the beach— and you want the best ice cream the island has to offer.
You could turn to TripAdvisor or Yelp, or you could trust a Nantucket local who knows all the best island spots. Natives know the exclusive dives, the prime creameries and sundae hangouts that give you an authentic experience.
The locals know good Nantucket ice cream when they taste it.
On your island getaway, make time to hit all three of these native favorites—
Island natives Jack and Charlie are two preteens who had a dream— to open their very own ice cream shop. With some help from their parents, the boys opened Jack and Charlie’s Ice Cream this past summer, right in town.
Being so new, this not-yet-discovered island gem is all yours.
Take a short stroll from Straight Wharf toward Main Street and look for the white trimmed building with the barn doors and patio seating.
Their family business offers nearly 25 flavors of ice cream, sundaes and smoothies, with unique hits like Sea Salt Caramel Swirl to expand your palate and write home about.
This Nantucket ice cream shop is dog-friendly and garishes their cones with Milk Bones for their furry customers.
Unlike the other two picks on this list, Nantucket’s Millie’s Market is not located in town. It’s on the far west end of the island at the end of Madaket Road, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
It’s named after local legend, Millie, who used to sell ice cream and greet travelers from her yard. She cared so deeply for Nantucket and helped its people and visitors so often, she earned the highest civilian rank from the US Coast Guard. In her honor, Millie’s Market sells Gifford’s ice cream; and although it’s not locally made, it’s sourced from a family-owned creamery in Skowhegan, Maine and uses only quality ingredients.
What makes Millie’s a favorite amongst the natives is its old-fashioned atmosphere and short proximity to Madaket Beach.
Snag a quick sundae through their take-out window on your family Nantucket bike excursion or stroll over after a hot day basking on the beach. Or enjoy stunning sunsets from the second floor of Millie's Restaurant next door.
However you choose— make time for Millie’s. This ice cream hit is only open seasonally from May to September, so be sure to stop while you can.
The Juice Bar has landed locals’ number one choice for Nantucket ice cream time after time again for two main reasons— their incredible selections and local, homespun flavors.
With more than 50 handmade varieties available daily, island resident and lifestyle blogger Georgie calls The Juice Bar “an absolute must.”
Although tourists can’t help but hear about this popular stop right in the heart of town, locals ensure it’s worth the wait for their fresh-made waffle cones and refreshing milkshakes.
Thrillist spoke with The Juice Bar’s owner, an island resident for over 30 years, who offered his own local secret. There’s usually a lull in their lines around 6–7 p.m., making it the perfect time to come before the post-dinner crowd.
Local Pro Tip: don’t be afraid to ask for samples before you pick a flavor! The “Green Monster” (mint with cookie dough) is a crowd favorite, but they also have special locally sourced fruit flavors like blackberry available seasonally.
Trust us— we know the best ice cream spots on the island. We also know where to get the best food.
View our hand-selected restaurant picks to map out your dining plan. There’s a downloadable guide for you to print out and circle your favorites to hit while on Nantucket.