Summer is on its way to the Sunshine City, which means higher temperatures, electrical storms and a seriously hard time finding a parking spot on Beach Drive.
Though we here at I Love the ‘Burg can’t help you with most of those problems, we do know a surefire way to beat the heat: ice cream. And—after trying all the local spots from Central to Pinellas—we also know exactly where to get it.
So, if you’re hot, hungry or simply curious; read on.
Here is the (un)official power-ranking of St. Pete’s best scoop shops.
#10: Larry's Ice Cream and Gelatos
📍 6595 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach
Larry’s Ice Cream and Gelatos has been a St. Pete Beach tradition for over three decades. Boasting more than 80 flavors of ice cream, this “nostalgic, old-fashioned parlor” might have the biggest selection of frozen desserts in the ‘Burg.
Selection size aside, however, Larry’s treats also taste delicious. Featuring freshly-made cream that slowly melts into the crevices of jumbo waffle cones, we’d still be going to Larry’s even if they only had one flavor.
#9: Dairy Inn
📍 1201 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N
A St. Pete landmark, Dairy Inn has been serving locals since 1947. Though many regulars hit the late-night spot for burgers, cheesesteaks and tots, we firmly believe its success comes from its glorious soft serve sundaes.
And—if you’re into triple-layered cups of ice cream, baked goods and fruity toppings—chances are you’d probably agree with us.
#8: Paciugo Gelato
📍 300 Beach Dr NE #120
Ok, so gelato is technically not ice cream, but so many locals claim this Beach Drive staple serves their “favorite ice cream in St. Pete” that the difference clearly isn’t noticeable.
If you haven’t visited yet, prepare to be overwhelmed by a wall of 40+ homemade flavors arranged in a rainbow of gently-sloping peaks. No matter which you select, we guarantee it’ll taste as good as any frozen treat you’ll find in Italy.
📍 3043 4th St N
Frozen yogurt also isn’t technically ice cream, but Yogurtology’s product tastes exactly like soft serve and it’s fantastic.
Our favorite thing about the spot—besides the self-serve fro-yo, custard and sorbet on tap—is its unlimited do-it-yourself toppings bar.
#6: Sprinkles Ice Cream Shop
📍 6870 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach
Scoop shops are a dime a dozen out on the beach, but this one serves 14% butterfat Amish ice cream which definitely makes it a cut above the rest.
With dreamy flavors such as Blueberry Cheesecake and “Captain Butterscotch” (vanilla base with butterscotch swirl, brownie bites, Heath Bar, Oreos and peanut butter cups), Sprinkles carries a thick-churned treat for every palate.
#5: Uptown Snoballs
📍 1003 4th St N
One of the newer St. Pete dessert spots, Uptown Snoballs serves “New Orleans-style shaved ice Snoballs” (which are soft and fluffy, unlike snow cones), ice cream, and combo bowls of both.
With a vast assortment of colorful syrups, sundaes and scoops, the concept’s treats are as good for your Instagram as they are for your taste buds.
#4: Let It Be Ice Cream
📍 3127 Beach Blvd S, Gulfport
Branded as an “ol’ fashioned” ice cream shop, Let It Be Ice Cream in Gulfport takes guests back in time with its checkerboard tiles, neon chairs and small-batch scoops which are made on the daily.
Despite the shop’s nostalgic vibe, however, its changing menu of flavors are actually quite contemporary. Some recent standouts include “Aztec Chocolate” with dulce de leche and brownie bites, as well as “Yabba Dabba Doo!” with Fruity Pebbles.
#3: Happy’s Ice Cream
📍 6393 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N #107
Happy’s might be the newest ice cream spot in the ‘Burg, but its super creamy scoops loaded with brownie bites, cookie butter and more have quickly made it one of the best.
A true mom-and-pop shop, every batch of Happy’s ice cream is homemade, hand-churned, and generously scooped with love. If you grew up near the dairy farms of the north, this is the closest you’ll get to a taste of home.
#2: Plant Love Ice Cream
📍 953 Central Ave
Plant Love may be vegan, but it’s rich, indulgent scoops easily earn it a place in our top 2. Made with coconut cream, each of the shop’s flavors have an incredibly thick—yet smooth—consistency that is unlike anything we’ve tasted before.
When you visit the spot, make sure to opt for the five “flight” sampler. With decadent flavors from Cookie Butter to Snickers, you’ll want to try as much of the menu as possible.
#1: Bright Ice Scoop Shop
📍 3701 5th Ave N
When we asked you guys where to find the best ice cream in the ‘Burg, 9 out of 10 of you suggested Bright Ice. As locals ourselves, though, we kind of expected that.
With completely original flavors, such as “Sprinkles and Cream” and “Caramelized Banana,” Bright Ice handcrafts their scoops with an artistry distinct to themselves. It is that unique, creative touch—along with the fluffiness of their cream, of course—that earns the shop the top spot on our list.