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Although enjoying ice cream is a 365-day-a-year practice for many, the summer season means it’s officially “game on” for local ice cream shops. We’ve checked out many shops around Rhode Island over the years and present this list of “Six Picks” (with several honorable mentions) for you to consider.

Note: We’ve intentionally excluded restaurant chains like Ben and Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Kilwins, and Dairy Queen. (Yes, there’s a DQ on Atwood Ave. in Cranston.) We love them too, just focusing on locally owned and operated stores for this story.

Cranston/Johnston/Seekonk: Some of the best soft-serve in the state can be found at Sundaes, a Rhode Island institution for over 30 years. There are literally hundreds of flavor combinations, dozens of mix-ins, and three locations, two in RI (95 Greenville Ave in Johnston, 775 Oaklawn Ave in Cranston), and one in Massachusetts (259 Taunton Ave. in Seekonk.) And remember, Kit Kat goes great with anything! Check out their web site here for more delicious details.

Narragansett: Brickley’s at 322 Main St. Wakefield, is a South County favorite for many, with long lines out the door on busy beach days. Experience over 45 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, no-sugar ice cream, sherbets and sorbet. Open six days a week from Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 8:30PM, 9PM on weekends. Click here for more.

Middletown: Frosty Freeze at 496 E. Main Rd. has been an Aquidneck Island institution since 1956. They offer the best traditional flavors in regular and soft serve, mango sorbet and frozen yogurt. They also feature sundae’s, banana splits and “the nor’easter,” a cup of ice cream filled with mix-ins including M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, Oreos, homemade brownies, Skittles, strawberries, pineapple, and chopped cherries. They are open daily till 9PM. Complete details here.

Newport: Cold Fusion Gelato at 389 Thames Street has a wide selection of gelato and sorbet available daily. The flavor selection is vast, with favorites including Cake Batter, Salted Caramel Chunk, and Jamaican Mango sorbet. They also specialize in pie flavors like Key Lime and Peanut Butter Xanadu. Click here for more.

Tiverton/Bristol: Gray’s Ice Cream is an East Bay destination at 16 East Road at Tiverton Four Corners. The award-winning shop, once among the “12 Best Places to Get Ice Cream” by gourmet/com, features classic flavors and more including Coffee, Orange Pineapple and Coconut, with Pumpkin and Egg Nog available in season. They are open year round till 8PM in Toverton, and till 10PM on weekends in Bristol.

Middletown/East Greenwich: Clementine’s Homemade Ice Cream recently opened a 2nd store in East Greenwich (250 Main St.), after 20+ years at their flagship store in Middletown (62 Wave Ave.). They specialize in traditional flavors including Bubble Gum, Butter Brickle, and Mint Oreo. In addition to regular ice cream, you can find sorbet, sherbet, sugar-free ice cream, dairy-free, and frozen yogurt. Click here for more.

Honorable Mention:

Providence: Tizzy K’s Cereal Ice Cream is sold from a cart at events around the state. It’s just like it sounds… cereal-infused ice cream, mainly the high sugar crunchy brands like Frosted Flakes, Cookie Crisp and Fruity Pebbles. You’ll find them at the PVD Pedestrian Bridge every weekend. Details here.

Providence: We recently discovered Tricycle Ice Cream on a quiet street around the corner from a pair of breweries. Tricycle specializes in Ice Cream Sandwiches … yup. They also serve ice cream tacos, drumsticks and good old-fashioned waffle cones. They opened at the 70 Battey St location in 2019, and have become a destination for ice cream sandwich fanatics. Open Thursday – Sunday. Click here for more.

Statewide: Newport Creamery is another Rhode Island institution not to be missed. Famous for the Awful Awful, (drink three, get one free) the chain continues to offer up some of the best ice cream anywhere. With 10 locations around the state, “the Creamery” is a family favorite featuring delicious food offereings and an ice cream menu to rival anyones. Check out the Holy Cow! Sundae with 10 scoops of ice cream, 4 toppings, banana wheels and walnuts. Click here for more.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.