5 Fantastic South Carolina Ice Cream Parlors

By:Kerry Egan


Some of the most delicious homemade ice cream you'll ever find is made right here in South Carolina. Of course, it's not just ice cream you'll find in the Palmetto State. South Carolinians are also scooping up some amazing frozen custard (ice cream made with eggs, which makes it richer) and gelato (Italian-style ice cream that has very little air spun into it, making it even richer still).

Check out these five choices for some distinctively South Carolinian frozen creaminess. Perfect on a hot summer day but maybe even better in the fall or winter, when it doesn't melt as fast and you can savor your cone more slowly.

  1. ​’55 Exchange, Clemson. Maybe "dorm-made" ice cream is a better description than homemade in this case. Clemson Ice Cream is wholly made and sold by Clemson University students. First produced sometime in the 1920s, it was once made in the Dairy Building and sold in the Ag Sales Room for 10 cents per scoop. It's now sold in the ’55 Exchange on the campus of Clemson University. Order up the Tiger Slab, where you get to create your own flavor.
  2. ​Sweet Cream Company, Columbia. Their signature cookie sandwich is a Willy Wonka-like creation of freshly baked cookies and creamy frozen custard. Favorites include a lemon-rosemary cookie with raspberry frozen custard, graham cracker cookie with marshmallow custard and chocolate drizzle, and chocolate-bacon (yes, BACON!) cookie with peanut butter custard.
  3. ​Belgian Gelato, Charleston. Their gelato is ridiculously creamy, and their version of a milk shake, the frappelato, is one of the smoothest you'll ever taste. Grab your treat and walk just a few steps to gorgeous Waterfront Park to enjoy it. You might think it couldn't get any better, but visit at 5 p.m. when it's happy hour — buy one, get one free frappelatos, which I can sip as the sun sets over the harbor? Why yes, I will take two!
  4. ​Strawberry Hill USA, Chesnee. What could taste fresher than ice cream made with the fruit that grows right on the farm where the ice cream is made? The strawberry and peach ice creams at Strawberry Hill USA are made with the fruit picked right from the fields and orchards that surround you.
  5. ​Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe, Greenville. This sleek and welcoming little shop, which could make you think you're in Florence, Italy, is actually just steps off of Greenville's bustling and welcoming Main Street. With flavors like stracciatella, blood orange sorbetto and biscotto cookie, there's no reason to fly across the ocean.

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