Keep your cool in Vilas County this summer—the Northwoods of Wisconsin’s charming communities are filled with great places to consume a cone or score a sundae. Here’s a closer look at where to find frozen treats in northern Wisconsin.
Whether you’re riding the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail, casting a line in search of a trophy musky or just exploring Boulder Junction’s charming downtown this summer, chances are you’ll want to stop for a sweet treat. Well, you’re in luck—the Ice Shanty Drive-In serves up delicious ice cream (and a side of mini-golf) on Hwy M north of downtown Boulder Junction, and Mad Dog Jake’s (Hwy M and Main Street) is a local favorite for Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Chicago-style hot dogs and more.
In Conover, head to the Boathouse Grill and Creamery, which serves up delicious ice cream in addition to brisket, prime rib, burgers, seafood, fresh pizzas, and wine, craft beer & coffee. (Be sure to check out their cool collection of vintage boats, outboard motors, and racing hydros, too.)
Ice cream fans have no shortage of places to stop for a tasty treat in Eagle River. The Country Store of Eagle River specializes in award-winning fudge, turtles, caramel corn and peanut brittle, but it’s also a great place to get frozen treats in the summertime. Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs has a location in Eagle River that serves Dan’s Marvelous Ice Cream—and Eagle River is also home to a Dairy Queen for fans of Blizzards and Dilly Bars. Peanut’s Ice Cream & Cookie Dough serves up Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream at its location on Wall Street, and Pirates Hideaway is a fun family destination that offers pirate ship rides and is home to an ice cream shop and tiki bar.
Land O’ Lakes
Get a blast from the past at the Dari Maid Drive-In, a 1950s-style ice cream stand in the heart of Land O’ Lakes. This iconic attraction has been welcoming generations of Vilas County visitors with burgers, fish fry, cheese curds, French fries, corn dogs and more, as well as shakes & freezes, floats and sundaes. Other ice cream options in Land O’ Lakes include the Forest Lake Country Store and The Sawbuck.
Trig’s Village Market in Manitowish Waters is a great place to pick up fresh fruits, veggies and other essentials for your vacation cabin or cottage. but they also serve up premium ice cream on-site, so it’s a great place to stop on a summer day.
The “Island City” is a popular spot for out-of-town visitors in the summer, and the Minocqua Area is home to charming shops and tasty restaurants that draw return guests year after year. In the mood for some ice cream? Head to Boardwalk Ice Cream & Fudge in the Old Minocqua Boardwalk Shops or visit What’s the Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe in Woodruff. Minocqua is also home to a Culver’s that serves up their classic custard and sweet treats.
On the shores of North Twin Lake in Phelps in eastern Vilas County, you’ll find Sweets, Treats & More, a friendly ice cream shop that lives up to its name. The shop is easy to get to by car or bike, and you can even park your boat on the shores of North Twin Lake to stop for a bite.
Two general stores in Sayner-Star Lake serve up tasty ice cream and other treats to visitors all summer long. The Corner Store in Sayner—located at Hwy N and Razorback Road—is one-stop shopping in the Northwoods, offering not only ice cream but also coffee, groceries, ice, camping supplies, live bait and bicycle and watersport rentals. The Star Lake Store on County Road K in Star Lake is another one-stop shop for Northwoods visitors, including a full ice cream bar and a large selection of classic candy.
St. Germain in southern Vilas County is home to two sweet stops for ice cream. Cathy’s Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe is located on St. Germain’s main drag (Hwy 70) and has been serving locals and visitors alike for more than three decades. Cathy’s offers 32 flavors of premium ice cream, as well as gluten-free ice cream and cones and dairy-free sorbet (and don’t forget the fresh fudge). Elmer’s Ice Cream Shop—located at Elmer’s Fun Park just a short drive down Hwy 70 to the east—is a great place to get a cool treat after hitting up the park’s go-kart track, taking a guided horseback ride or playing 18 holes on the mini-golf course.