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  • Nancy McAleer

The Great Anna Maria Island Ice Cream Smackdown - Who Has the Best Ice Cream?


The Great Ice Cream Smackdown - Top Ice Cream Shops on Anna Maria Island

It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it! It's here...... finally! The GREAT ICE CREAM SMACKDOWN on Anna Maria Island. This list is the ultimate, top list of the best of the best ice cream shops found on and around Anna Maria Island. Your detailed resource into who has the best ice cream on the island. If you're an ice cream aficionado like we are you'll appreciate this Insider's Guide on the best spots to hit.

Two Scoops Ice Cream Shop - Best Ice Cream Anna Maria Island

Two Scoops

#1 ~ TWO SCOOPS ICE CREAM

101 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216

Open daily 1 - 10 pm

Yup... we have tried them all and absolutely love love love Two Scoops Ice Cream. Not only are their ice cream flavours creamy, milky and delicious they have an amazing assortment of candies, pretzels and other treats to suit any kid. Grab one of their t-shirts while you are there, they are colorful and super cute!

Two Scoops is located on the north end of the island around the corner from our awesome vacation rentals. Our kids love riding their bikes to this shop and cooling off with a good old fashioned ice cream cone.

Now back to why we love their ice cream and how they made it to the Number 1 spot on our list. They have 32 homemade flavors to start with. Bing Cherry, Chocolate Chunk, Gator Tracks and Superkid are a few of the faves of our family. They make incredible banana splits topped with chocolate, Florida strawberries, pineapple, whipped cream, nuts and cherries... my mouth is watering! They have definitely earned their moniker of "Anna Maria island's Favorite Ice Cream Shop!"

Located across the street from Tampa Bay and the Anna Maria City Pier, it's a great way to enjoy an ice cream and stroll along the boardwalk enjoying the salty island breezes. The best of the best beach life ever!

Insider Tip Icon

Insider Tip!

I can't leave this ice cream shop without grabbing a Lemon Fizz drink. It's actually not on the menu... so only Insiders can get this cool, frosty, icy drink. It's a combination of lemon sorbet with crushed ice and 7-Up. It is so lemony it tastes like the large freshly squeezed lemonade served in Southern Italy. I can't tell you how refreshing this is... you just gotta try it!

Island Scoops Ice Cream - Best Ice Cream Anna Maria Island

Island Scoops

#2 ~ ISLAND SCOOPS

103B Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

Open daily 1 - 10 pm

I know, I know, I know, the names are almost identical, but the good news is that you'l remember the Top 2 ice cream shop names and no matter where you are on the island you can hit a 'Scoops' within minutes. Island Scoops is located in Bradenton Beach on the southern end of the island. Although this little shop specializes in "Big Olaf" ice cream they also offer baked goods, malts, gourmet sodas, candy and island gift items.

What is Big Olaf ice cream you ask? Delicious ice creams that are "hand mixed by local Amish craftsmen and churned in batch freezers. Boasting a combination of high quality, fresh ingredients and rich grade A milk producing authentic and mouth watering ice cream." Kids love the trashcan flavor and adults can indulge in a Kahlua Krunch Malt. They also offer amazing sundaes, malts, shakes and other frozen treats.

With a wide variety of rich and delish ice cream flavours Island Scoops also has what they call "retail therapy"... my fave shopping!

Girls eating ice cream on the beach

#3 ~ SMALL TOWN CREAMERY

In the Holmes Beach Plaza corner of Marina and Gulf Dr

5404 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Open daily 11 am - 9:30 pm

This little small town shop has a cool vibe inside... no pun intended! Focused on a fun kid-friendly atmosphere replete with toys, treats, a ferris wheel and of course their fabulous ice cream. A little like Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory... the owners are obsessed with finding "obscure little treasures of deliciousness" and we think they are doing a darn good job of it! Don't overlook this little shop in the strip mall in the heart of Holmes Beach, it's close to the beach but also a great spot to zip to on your golf cart.

Sink your teeth into Banana Cream Pie, Bear Claw, Captain's Chocolate, Dreamsicle, Elephant Ear and so many more. We love the specialty flavors that rotate by season like, Red Velvet Cake, Hawaiian Fruit Cup and Key Lime Pie... freshness at it's best.

Filled with incredible award winning, ice cream flavors.. did you know that this little shop has been awarded the Grand Master Ice Cream Award? Not an easy feat, as a shop has to win 3 different Blue Ribbon awards within 5 years just to qualify at the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA). You're in good hands at Small Town Creamery.

Anna Maria Island Insider Tip icon

Insider Tip!

Find other incredible treats like ice cream pies, mermaid milkshakes, homemade fudge, waffle dogs on a stick, pop fusion wine -infused popsicles and tons more goodness. We're becoming obsessed!

Shiny Fish Emporium

#4 ~ SHINY FISH EMPORIUM

306 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216

Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 5:30 pm

Sun 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

I can't tell you how much I love this shop! It's such a whimsical, colorful oasis for kids and parents to escape to. Located on the north end of the island in Anna Maria, Shiny Fish Emporium is constantly 'blooming with joyful treasures'. Voted by Southern Family Fun as one of the Top Family-Friendly Attractions on Anna Maria Island it's no wonder it made it to our Insider list of the Top Ice Cream Shops on Anna Maria Island.

Here you won't find your typical ice cream cones but this incredible mochi ice cream also known as Hawaiian Ice Cream Bubbles.... so freakin' good and they won't melt in the sun! Encased in a sweetened rice dough that tastes like fondant. One bite into this soft and chewy bubble and the ice cream tucked inside is released into your mouth. You gotta try this!

Anna Maria Island Beach Life Insider Tip

Insider Tip!

Our kids love the atmosphere here. They ride their bikes over and sit at the craft table to paint sand dollars as well as say hello to their cute puppy! Their Granny doesn't let them come home without some ice cream bubbles for her, she's hooked!

Child enjoying ice cream bubble at Shiny Fish Emporium

#5 ~ JOE'S EATS AND SWEETS

219 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

Open daily 11 am - 10:00 pm

This fun and funky shop is a great place to grab an ice cream on the southern end of the island. Right across from the beach you can't miss this multi-colored, funky, pastel, ice cream beach palace. It's a great place to grab a social media moment while on vacay. It's been there for 30+ years and is in a great location.

This spot is popular so expect line ups during season. Joe's Easts and Sweets boasts a great variety of flavors, as well as frozen bananas, humungous banana splits, and even some sugar-free options too. We like the Cotton Candy & Nerds, Funfetti Cake Batter, Pineapple Coconut, and Key Lime Cheesecake flavors.

Joe's Eats and Sweets

#6 ~ HOLY COW ICE CREAM

5404 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Open daily 11 am - 9:30 pm

Step into this quaint little ice cream shop in the strip mall at South Bay Blvd in Holmes Beach (close to Publix). Offering rotating specials like Cracker Jack Salted Caramel Sundaes, Chocolate Bacon Sundaes these owners aren't afraid to try new and exciting combinations to suit any taste.

Choose from 36 of the Working Cow ice cream flavors in this cute little shop where kids can sit at the toad stool table and adults can enjoy tiki bar seating. On the menu you can also find milkshakes, malts, sundaes, fruit smoothies, frozen yoghurt and more.

Ice Cream on the beach

#7 ~ DIPS ICE CREAM

Located inside the Anna Maria General Store