Chasing Sweet Delights: The Best Ice Cream Spots in Howard County, MD

Who else agrees that no matter the season, there’s always room for a delightful scoop (or two) of ice cream? From the classic vanilla to exotic Thai rolled ice cream, our beloved Howard County has it all.

As your trusted local connoisseur, I’m here to help you navigate this dreamy creamy world. Let’s embark on this frosty adventure and discover the best ice cream places in Howard County, Maryland!

    • Sweet Cascades Chocolatier, Ellicott City
      Next up, Sweet Cascades Chocolatier, but don’t let the name deceive you. While their handmade chocolates are phenomenal, their gelato truly steals the show. Creamy, rich, and satisfyingly sweet, it’ll transport you straight to Italy. Don’t forget to try their pistachio flavor – it’s “molto delizioso!”
    • Soft Stuff Ice Cream, Ellicott City
      Soft Stuff Ice Cream, Ellicott City.A local favorite since 1984, Soft Stuff Ice Cream’s soft serve is legendary in Howard County. The texture is dreamily smooth and the flavors are intensely vibrant. Their twist cones are an absolute treat, with the orange vanilla being a crowd-pleaser.
    • Cindy’s Soft Serve
      This one is more old-school and totally worth the trip to Elkridge. If you love soft-serve ice cream (or snowballs), you’ll LOVE this place. Ice cream is so creamy and delicious!
      Cindy's Softserve Menu, Elkridge, Md
    • Baskin Robbins, Columbia
      Baskin Robbins may be a national chain, but the Columbia location holds a special place in our hearts. With an extensive menu of classic flavors, sundaes, and custom ice cream cakes, there’s something for every ice cream lover. Pro-tip: join their Birthday Club for a free scoop on your special day!
    • The Charmery, Columbia
      Bringing some Baltimore charm to Howard County, The Charmery in Columbia is a spot you won’t want to miss. Their handcrafted ice cream flavors rotate regularly, but each one is a home run. Their Honey Graham and Old Bay Caramel flavors showcase Maryland pride and taste as wonderful as they sound.

      Menu at the Charmery
      Charmery, Columbia, Md
    • Cold Stone Creamery, Columbia and Ellicott City
      ColdStone is unique in its creative hand-mixed ice cream flavors such as Peanut Butter Cup Perfection which includes nice chunks of Reese’s cups. Always a fun experience to watch them make the concoction you ordered.
    • The Meadows Original Frozen Custard, Columbia
      Don’t mistake custard for its cousin, ice cream. The Meadows Original Frozen Custard serves up a denser, richer experience that is simply delightful. Offering a variety of flavors and a rainbow of toppings, it’s a custom dessert paradise. And their sundaes? Absolutely divine! But best of all, in my opinion, is the ice cream cookie sandwiches. Please pay close attention to the hours, they aren’t open every day.

      [Busy family? Try WECO Hospitality for dinner. We use it at our house, and the food quality is very good. Get $20 toward dinner with this referral link]

    • Rita’s Italian Ice, Columbia
      Rita’s Italian Ice offers a refreshing change from traditional ice cream. Serving up delicious Italian ice and creamy custard, it’s the perfect spot for a light dessert on a hot day. Their Mango Italian Ice is refreshingly fruity and, paired with their creamy vanilla custard as a Gelato, is an absolute must-try. This location is open year-round.
    • The Crazy Mason, Ellicott City
      For a treat that’s equal parts outrageous and delicious, look no further than The Crazy Mason. Known for their extravagant milkshakes, this place is all about indulgence. From a s’mores shake topped with a toasted marshmallow to a cookies n’ cream delight complete with an entire chocolate chip cookie, these shakes are a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
    • Kyoto Matcha, Ellicott City
      For something a little different, consider going to Kyoto Matcha for Matcha ice cream.
    • EC Diner, Ellicott City
      Milkshake at EC Diner Ellicott City, Md
      Milkshakes at EC Diner in Ellicott City

      Finishing up our list is the beloved EC Diner, famous for its classic diner vibes and spectacular milkshakes. The shakes are rich, thick, and served up with style-for example — how about a piece of cake or an ice cream cookie sandwich on top of your milkshake (pictured). Be it the classic vanilla or the funky banana split, they’ve perfected the art of the milkshake.

    • TCBY, Columbia
      On Snowden River Parkway, this classic ice cream shop still goes on. They offer scooped and soft serve, plus some great ice cream cakes.

    The Ultimate Guide to the Best Ice Cream in Maryland

    Now, for all you genuinely adventurous ice cream lovers out there, there’s one more experience you should consider: the Maryland Ice Cream Trail. Launched by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, this fun trail takes you on a journey across nine different dairy farms, all offering farm-fresh ice cream made right on site. It’s an ice cream lover’s road trip dream, plus, you get the chance to learn about Maryland’s dairy industry directly from the farmers. Each year it’s a new list.

    There you have it, my fellow ice cream enthusiasts! Remember, life is like an ice cream cone; you have to enjoy it before it melts. So, let’s get out there and savor the finest frozen treats Howard County has to offer. Got any more recommendations? I’d love to hear about your favorite ice cream spots in the comments! BTW, see my list of great family restaurants for kids in Howard County and my list of the best bakeries in our area.

    Until next time, keep chilling!

  • Bonus Location: Dairy Queen in Odenton.