Ice cream is one of those foods that’s synonymous with summer, although it’s pretty wonderful at any time of year! On a hot day, there’s not much better than getting a big scoop of your favorite ice cream on a waffle cone. To help you find that summer joy, we’ve put together this guide to our favorite ice cream scoop shops in Marin County (and we’ve thrown in a couple of our Sonoma County favorites that are worth the trip, too).
Here they are, arranged from south to north. Many of these shops are family owned and operated, but we’ve included a few of the popular chains, too.
Mill Valley Swirl
Mill Valley Swirl on bustling Miller Avenue creates its seasonal handmade “Sweet Annie’s” ice cream in-house and also offers ice cream cakes, frozen yogurt, and other treats. 417 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley 94941. millvalleyswirl.com
Lappert’s Ice Cream has been a fixture on the tourist hub of Bridgeway in Sausalito since 1981. Still family owned, it offers ice cream in a variety of flavors, including some Hawaiian-inspired concoctions like “Kauai Pie” and guava sorbet. Lappert’s has two locations, at 689 and 815 Bridgeway in Sausalito 94965. www.lapperts.com
This small ice cream shop in downtown Fairfax offers a rotating selection of innovative organic ice cream flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut and Mexican chocolate, as well old favorites like strawberry and chocolate. Vegan-friendly sorbet and soy options are always offered, too. They take cash and local checks only. Fairfax Scoop located at at 63 Broadway. (415) 453-3130. Read our review here.
Silbermann’s Ice Cream
Silbermann’s has been a Marin tradition since 1966. Originally a Swenson’s shop, it was re-christened with the owners’ family name in 1989, but retains the old-school atmosphere and delicious house-made ice cream. Location: 196 Northgate One, San Rafael 94903. silbermanns.com
Cold Stone Creamery
Marin’s only outpost of this ice cream chain is located in downtown San Rafael. In case you haven’t been there, their speciality is ice cream with toppings mixed in, which they do right before you on a cold marble slab. Location: 1010 Court Street, San Rafael 94901. www.coldstonecreamery.com
San Rafael’s popular Double Rainbow Cafe serves premium ice cream, sandwiches, and other lunch fare. Location: 860 4th Street, San Rafael 94901. doublerainbowcafe.com
This nostalgic, old-school candy store in downtown Novato not only has every kind of sweet you’ve ever dreamed of (and some that you haven’t), but they also scoop up 16 flavors of ice cream and sorbet, including at least one vegetarian/vegan option. They’ll make you sundaes, malts, shakes, and floats, too. 879 Grant Avenue, Novato 94945. celinessweets.com
Marin’s newest ice cream shop, in Novato’s San Marin Plaza shopping center, offers Japanese-style soft-serve with flavors like matcha, taro, and ube, served in a tayaki fish cone. They also scoop up locally made Fiorello’s Artisan Gelato which includes specially made flavors like black sesame, red bean, and lychee. 109 San Marin Drive, Novato 94945. (415) 895-1429
Novato’s La Michoacana serves up delicious Mexican-style ice cream, frozen fruit bars (paletas), and other sweet treats. La Michoacana offers plenty of well-crafted ice cream standards, as well as a lot of flavors that you won’t find at other ice cream stores, like Mexican vanilla, pine nut, mamey, and piña colada, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in Novato. Read our review of La Michoacana. Location: 1219 Grant Avenue, Novato 94945. (415) 408-3044
Novato is home to this once-ubiquitous ice cream chain that scoops up familiar favorites. Ice cream cakes and other treats are available there, too. Location: 1769 Grant Avenue, Novato 94945. www.baskinrobbins.com
Tuttimelon scoops up a wide variety of premium gelato and sorbet as well as frozen yogurt and smoothies. Location: 132 Vintage Way Suite #F-9 Novato 94945. www.tuttimelonnovato.com
The Palace Market in downtown Point Reyes Station serves up water buffalo milk soft-serve gelato at it’s butcher counter in the back of the store. Location: 11300 State Route One, Point Reyes Station 94956. palacemarket.com
Angela’s Ice Cream
In addition to their rich and delicious homemade organic ice cream, Angela’s also offers sundaes, milkshakes, and baked goods. Read our review. Locations: 134 Petaluma Boulevard North and 1390 N McDowell Boulevard East, Petaluma. www.angelasicecream.com
The Petaluma Creamery is operated by the same people who run Spring Hill Jersey Cheese and the fantastic Peter Pumpkin patch at Spring Hill Farm. Their award-winning Petaluma Gold ice cream is offered in a wide range of delicious flavors, and serving sizes are generour. They also offer cheese and lunch items, like sandwiches and BBQ, here. Location: 711 Western Avenue, Petaluma. www.springhillcheese.com
Whenever we find ourselves in Sebastopol, we try to work in a visit to Screamin’ Mimi’s for some of their amazing ice cream. Screamin’ Mimi’s offers a rotating selection of over 300 different flavors, depending on what’s in season, made from local ingredients. Old standbys like chocolate, pistachio, and vanilla share space on the “Today’s Flavors” chalkboard with more unusual offerings including lavendar, caramel apple, and ginger. Read our review of Screamin’ Mimi’s. Location: 6902 Sebastopol Avenue, Sebastopol. www.screaminmimisicecream.com
Sweet Scoops on the square in Sonoma creates handcrafted ice cream using local ingredients. They also offer sundae, ice cream cakes, malts and shakes, and coffee. 408 First Street East, Sonoma. www.sweetscoopsicecream.com
For more information please see the list of Soft serve ice cream chains