Mootime Creamery1

Photo Credit: Julie Cohn

Part of the fun of traveling, especially with kids, is discovering new and unique places to eat.  This is even more true with sweet treats like ice cream–nothing beats a crunchy-sweet cone filled with creamy ice cream while exploring a new destination, especially during the dog-days of summer.  In celebration of National Ice Cream Day, here are a few recommendations for the most delectable ice cream in California.

 Moo Time Creamery, Coronado

 Moo Time Creamery ice cream is hand-crafted from scratch into rich, creamy flavors like Tiramisu, Chai Tea, and Apple Pie.  Moo Time also offers a variety of “mix-ins” such as fresh fruit, hot fudge, and candy.  My personal favorite is the cheesecake ice cream, with graham cracker and cherries mixed in. Yum!

Carmela Ice Cream, Pasadena

 Carmela Ice Cream in Pasadena takes ice cream making to a new level, by not only adding fresh fruit and spices, but herbs and vegetables as well.  Carmela uses organic dairy and farmer’s market produce to create flavors such as cucumber sorbet and Lemon Verbena Vanilla.  The strawberry buttermilk, only available seasonably, is out of this world.

McConnell’s Ice Cream, Santa Barbara

McConnell’s has been in business for over 70 years, using milk and cream from their own dairy, and all-natural ingredients.  The look of the shop is classic, but the ice cream is so fresh, you’ll want to slap it for “getting fresh” with you.  When I first tasted McConnell’s Brazilian Coffee, I swooned. With flavors like Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Salted Caramel Chip, and Island Coconut, you will swoon too.

Penny Creamery1

Photo Credit: Julie Cohn

The Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz

The Penny Ice Creamery, a tiny little ice cream shop in the heart of Santa Cruz, boasts scrumptious ice cream made from scratch in-house, in small batches.  All ingredients are organic, with flavors changing with the seasons. We sampled the Bitter Caramel, Raspberry Chocolate Almond, Roasted Barley (it tasted like toffee), and Whiskey Custard before settling into a cone of Rocky Road.  Incredible!

Bi Rite Creamery1

Photo Credit: Julie Cohn

Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco

Be prepared to wait in a line to try Bi-Rite ice cream.  The good news?  The line moves quickly.  They make their ice cream in small batches, so it is always fresh…not that the ice cream sits around long with all the people trying to get in the door!  Tantalizing flavors such as Honey Lavender, Balsamic Strawberry, and Ricanelas (cinnamon with snicker doodle) make it worth the wait.

I am always on the lookout for new ice cream places.  What are some of your favorite ice cream shops in California?