Island Creamery in Chincoteague, VA was voted Best Ice Cream Place in America by USA Today readers. Photo: Island Creamery

Chincoteague’s Island Creamery Named America’s Best Ice Cream Shop

Island Creamery is the 2023 “Best Ice Cream Shop in America”, as voted by USA Today readers in their top 10 contest. Their cones are drawing national attention to their three locations, Berlin, Salisbury and their home store in Chincoteague, Virginia, which has been serving farm fresh ice cream to its customers since 1975.

Kelly Conklin now owns the store with his wife Robin, after taking over from his parents Bob and Nancy Conklin. But the Conklin recipe remains a sweet creation made from local cows and ingredients from local farmers.  

“Inspiration for flavors come from the local fruit farmers and from the tasty sweets created in our kitchen,” their website says. The ingredients list is short: just cream, milk, plant derivatives and sugar. But their reputation is growing. 

Being situated near the popular beachfront vacation destination of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has contributed to making Island Creamery a tradition among visitors each summer.

“We became a part of the vacation experience,” says Kelly Conklin. 

Island Creamery is also featured on the Maryland Ice Cream Trail along with dozens of other “cow-to-cone” creameries across the state. This trail is a 250-year-old state tradition and creates a sweet treat road map just in time for summer. (Visit each creamery and snap a photo to win a prize from Maryland’s Best.) 

The shop communities have been welcoming and supportive of the creamery, says Conklin. Some longtime customers have brought in their children to introduce them to what made their childhood sweet.  

When Chesapeake Bay Magazine helped spread the word about the USA Today contest last month, our story got a huge reaction.

Conklin praises the community for “warmly” supporting his business and shares the honor of being nominated with them. With three shops, Conklin says he has had many great personal experiences with his customers—ice cream just makes people happy, he says.

”You may come in grumpy, but chances are you’re not going to leave grumpy.” 

The creamery offers classic flavors like vanilla, butter pecan and Oreo, but also has some unique flavors popular on the Eastern Shore. Some of their signature flavors are Bourbon Caramel Crunch, Marsh Mud and Pony Tracks which is similar to the popular Moose Tracks flavor but with a nod to the famous local Chincoteague ponies. They also offer seasonal flavors pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie in autumn. 

Drew Conklin shared a video to the creameries Instagram and Facebook thanking everyone who voted in the contest and bringing in more support for the shops. Here you can find more information about each location as well as flavors, features and new creations.

-Dorothy Hood