Top ice cream places on the beaches near Charleston

It’s summer, it’s hot.  It’s time for ice cream!

The beaches and islands near Charleston are overflowing with great places to get frozen treats.  Ice cream is a timeless classic beloved by all ages, from toddlers to centenarians.

Of course, it’s not just ice cream any more.  There’s plenty of choice out there, from frozen yogurt and custard, to gelato and sorbetto, to snow cones to rolled ice cream.  It’s all good, and it’s all cold.

Here are some of the top places to get frozen goodies near Charleston area beaches, grouped by island.

On the Isle of Palms…

1. Ben and Jerry’s

These two guys from Vermont have been around a while and have proven they know a thing or two about making good ice cream.  Yes, Ben & Jerry’s is a giant chain, but it’s a fixture on Isle of Palms’ Front Beach, plus this one is locally owned and operated.  Pro tip  –  they serve up flavors that you won’t find on the freezer shelves of your favorite grocery store.  Ben & Jerry’s IOP is located at 1109 Ocean Boulevard, is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. and can be reached at (843) 886-6314.  If you happen to be on Kiawah Island, they also have a location there at 624 Freshfields Drive.

2. Island Joe’s Ice Cream & Espresso

Island Joe’s is no chain.  It’s totally local, the satellite spot of the Isle of Palms Front Beach institution, Coconut Joe’s.  Located at 1122 Ocean Boulevard, they serve up Wholly Cow ice cream, hand-dipped like in an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.  Wholly Cow is made locally in the Holy City from 100% all-natural ingredients and is wholly delicious.  Island Joe’s is open from 11:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m. most days, 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, seven days of the week.  They also serve up great milkshakes, burgers and sandwiches and are steps from the beach.

3. Chills 360

Chills 360 is something different and totally cool.  Their specialty is what they call Thai-inspired rolled ice cream, and it’s as delicious as it is fun looking.  They custom make it to your specifications and tastes, mixing up the ingredients on a giant cold slab right before your eyes, then forming it into stylish rolls using big spatula-like gizmos.  They call it “Frozen fun for the whole family.”

Flavors are fresh, often exotic and change regularly.  Some popular options and combinations include The Hangover (coffee and KitKat), Matcha Made in Heaven (green tea and strawberry), Cookie Monster (with Oreos), Monkey Business (banana and Nutella), Pinky Promise (strawberry, graham crackers and Red Vines), What the Fudge (fudge brownie), Peanut Butter Jealous (with peanut butter and pretzels), and the purplish Ice Ice Baby (with taro and lychee).

Chills 360 started out in Texas and has proven to be wildly popular there.  Most of their locations are in the Lone Star state, but lucky for us, they decided to open one on the Isle of Palms.  You can find it at 1515 Palm Boulevard, in the Harris-Teeter shopping center.  They’re open from noon till 11:00 p.m. seven days a week and can be reached at (843) 242-8469.

On Sullivan’s Island…

4. Republic Ice Cream

Republic Ice Cream & Custard has deep roots and a rich history, stretching back over 100 years.  It’s a family company that takes their recipes and their business very seriously, creating something that’s “intensely flavored and carefully crafted… an authentic taste that has taken us generations to perfect – just enough time to create the world’s most delicious ice cream!”

Republic’s main office and creamery are on Seaboard Street in Myrtle Beach.  But thankfully they’ve come to the Charleston area and have opened up a scoopery on Sullivan’s Island, at 2120 Middle Street.  They can be reached at (843) 882-0296 and are open seven days a week from noon until 10:00 p.m.

Here’s a lineup of their classic flavors: Cherry-on-Top Vanilla, Southern Butter Pecan, Around-the-World Chocolate Chip, Thunderstorm Chocolate, Cool Peppermint Chocolate Chip, Old Fashioned Strawberry, Homestyle Cookies & Cream (made from grandma’s dark chocolate sandwich cookies), and last but not least, Island Vanilla.

5. Beardcat’s Sweet Shop

You may have heard of the very popular (rightfully so) Sullivan’s Island restaurant, the Obstinate Daughter.  Right below it is Beardcat’s Sweet Shop, which makes some truly delicious gelato.  They serve coffee from Durham’s Counter Culture Coffee, breakfast and light bite lunches… but the house-made gelato is king.  You can get scoops or pints, gelato floats, milkshakes, sundaes, cookie sandwiches or cakes, all made from the rich Italian delight.  Beardcat’s gelato shows up on the Obstinate Daughter’s menu and curbside pickup as well.

Their signature flavors include: Vanilla Bean, Milk Chocolate, Strawberry, Espresso, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Biscoff Almond Crunch, Stracciatella , Fior de Latte, and Olive Oil & Sea Salt.  Rotating flavors include such things as Banana Cream Pie, Key Lime, Mint Chocolate Chip, Red Velvet Cake, and Butterscotch Brownie.  Sorbettos, which are all dairy free, may include Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Key Lime, Banana Berry, Strawberry Basil, or Strawberry Acai.

For the perfect Italian afternoon pick-me-up, order an Affogato.  You’ll be blessed by two scoops of gelato floating in freshly brewed and very aromatic espresso.  Give Beardcat’s a call at (843) 416-5025 for hours and details.  Their address is 2063 Middle Street.

On Folly Beach…

6. If you find yourself on the Edge of America, aka in Folly Beach, stroll on into Dolce Banana Café.  It’s located right there in the middle of things at 18 Center Street and is the go-to place for frozen yogurt.  Flavors change around on a daily basis, but they’ll probably include something along the lines of Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Cappuccino, Pistachio, Natural Italian Tart, Island Coconut, Nutella, NY Cheesecake, Sugar-free Chocolate, Strawberry-Banana Sorbet, Mango Sorbet, Wild Berry, Black Cherry, or even Green Apple.  Then load on the toppings; they have a slew to choose from.  Options include several kinds of fresh fruit like berries or mango, five different flavors of boba, pineapple, cheesecake, chocolate candies, cookies and the like.  It all sounds very tropical, fun and perfect for summer.

Dolce’s is open every day from 9:00 a.m. till 11:00 p.m.  and can be reached at (843) 633-0187.  Better yet, just show up for your Folly froyo.

So if you’re at the beach near Charleston, check out these places for some frozen happiness and instant chill.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger