Is there anything better than a sweet, sticky ice cream treat after a slow, languorous summer day in Gatlinburg? We don’t think so! Not surprisingly, Gatlinburg is home to numerous ice cream shops meant to help you beat the summer heat with a wide smile.
This list goes over some of our favorites, from nostalgic ice cream shops and frothy milkshakes to the newer kids on the ice cream block.
But one thing’s for sure: Tennessee loves its sweets and spirits as much as it loves its Dolly, so you’ll feel right at home being served this frozen confection from a kind local.
Whether you’re in Gatlinburg after a wild ruckus at the Smoky Mountain Adventure Rentals, spending an exhilarating day at Dollywood, or relaxing during a stay at the Bearskin Lodge right next to the Smoky Mountain National Forest, you’re in for a treat.
Let’s get our lick on, and discover the top Gatlinburg ice cream shops to help keep you cool on a hot day:
The Best Gatlinburg Ice Cream Shops
- Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts
- Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge, & Ice Cream
- Maddi Mae’s Cafe & Creamery
- The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
- Glades Soda Fountain
- Cookie Dough Bliss & Creamery
- Mayfield Dairy Bar
- Chocolate Monkey
1. Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts
Mmm, Mad Dog’s! It’s not hard to work up an appetite for this squirrelly spot, with its full selection of creamy hand-dipped ice cream – and an added bonus of some of the best donuts and funnel cake in town (Yes, we said funnel cake – we’re running over, too!).
Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts offers 24 delicious ice cream flavors that can be served in a cone, milkshake, banana split, or sundae. And while picking a favorite flavor is like picking a favorite child, some popular flavors are Smoky Mountain Fudge, Blueberry Pie, Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake, and Black Walnut (We’ll take four of each – thanks!). Go ahead, be a little extra and get a generous scoop of ice cream on some funnel cake!
The folks at Mad Dog’s understand that ice cream (and donuts!) are an American classic, and although they veritably stray from the tried-and-true Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry trifecta, we confess that their Smoky Mountain Fudge flavor is larger than life and a clear front winner.
Speaking of winners, everyone’s winning with their Maple Bacon donuts, so be sure to try one when you’re in town. Also, true to their name, Mad Dog’s offers dog treats and toys for your canine best friend, so get yourself some gifts to take home!
2. Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge, & Ice Cream
The Strip has its own original ice cream recipe, but even better is the wafting, warm smells of handmade waffle cones. Take it from us: Kilwin’s has some of the best tasting and mouth-watering candied apples in all of Gatlinburg, plus savory melt-in-your-mouth fudge that may have served as our late breakfast once or twice. (Oops!)
With 40 ice cream flavors to choose from, you really can’t go wrong when picking your new favorite, but since we’re here, try their Chocolate Toasted Coconut, Georgia Peach, Rum Raisin, and All-American Two Berry Pie.
Part of our American story since 1947, they’ve got the customer service thing down – and the Gatlinburg location offers a warm dose of Southern hospitality that tastes great with a sample of Mackinac Island Fudge.
3. Maddi Mae’s Cafe & Creamery
We love the nearby Pancake Pantry as much as any other Tennesseans, but it’s Maddi Mae’s Cafe & Creamery that really hits the spot with its Mayfield ice cream, and delicious Smoky Mountain Cherry Shake, and hearty Buffalo Chicken Wraps.
If you’re a local foodie, you know this used to be called The Village Cafe & Creamery, but her glow-up has arrived, ladies and gentlemen, and Maddi Mae have officially entered the chat.
Maddie has cones, milkshakes, malts, floats, and more to break up your fast Village shopping pace, but we’ve got a soft spot for a scoop of smooth ice cream with a Dirty Chai on the side.
You should also check out their Banana Split if you’ve got a few hungry mouths to feed – it’s humongous and worthy of its own sparkly Instagram story, not that we’ve ever done that or anything…
4. The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
Whew, The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar has truly won a few brownie points from us due to its family-owned and spirited vibe, something we take for granted in an increasingly corporate world.
But despite slowly opening locations in numerous states, this new kid on the block has maintained its homegrown ambiance, partnering with local businesses to amplify each town’s greatness – and Gatlinburg is no exception.
Right along the main strip in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Crazy Mason offers some truly epic desserts with quality ingredients, our favorites being the “But First, Coffee,” “S’Mores the Merrier,” and “Mint to Be” Crazy Cups, but their milkshakes and sundaes really shouldn’t be glossed over.
If you’ve got a sugar tooth, this is where you should be parking your, um, car, because this company sure doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. And if you’re dairy-free, Crazy Mason offers two flavorful options that your stomach and cows will thank you for. Check them out!
5. Glades Soda Fountain
And now for something completely different, let’s lean into the past a bit with Glades Soda Fountain, which offers an old-fashioned 1940s-esque malt shop, soda fountain, and delicious ice cream dishes.
And while we love their phosphates, floats, milks, milkshakes, and sundaes, this nostalgic spot in the Gatlinburg arts and crafts area is a favorite for another less obvious reason. The personable Mitchell family has clearly placed their collective souls’ work into providing youngsters with a glimpse of the past and reinforcing positive childhood memories for the older folks coming in. How sweet is that?
If you’re in town for the July or October Craftsmen’s Fair, Glades is an obvious next stop, with their amazing Black Cherry and Butter Pecan ice cream treats. Similar to Maddi Mae’s, these soda jerks offer Mayfield ice cream, something we’ll touch on a bit later – but let’s keep moving along!
6. Cookie Dough Bliss & Creamery
Alright, this one is a little left field, but hear us out: premium, small-batch, cookie dough freshly made with a smile – and over 20 flavors to choose from!
We love to get our treats in waffle cones or as part of an ice cream sandwich, but no matter which way you look at it, you’re coming out of Cookie Dough Bliss & Creamery in the green.
And in case you need some flavor inspirations, we go absolutely gaga for their Andes Mint, Brownie Batter, Bourbon Butter Pecan, and Samoa Cookie. (Samoa Cookie!? Come on – so good! We’d eat this one every day if our pants would allow it).
Just add a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and you’ll understand why they mean business when they say “bliss.” We’re so glad these dizzyingly delicious treats are in Gatlinburg, and there’s a strong chance you’ll feel the same.
7. Mayfield Dairy Bar
Mayfield started its lifespan in nearby Athens, Tennessee at the base of the Smoky Mountains, and it’s basically a Tennessee tradition at this point. And lucky for Gatlinburg, we’ve got the Mayfield Dairy Bar right off Parkway to keep us cool during those hot summer months.
We recommend stopping in for some Turtle Tracks on a warm waffle cone or a refreshing root beer float – you can thank us later because they’ve also got incredible funnel cakes and corn dogs to hold you over until dinner.
Open year-round and seven days a week, this isn’t even close to a tourist trap: it’s a hometown destination, y’all.
8. Chocolate Monkey
With a name like Chocolate Monkey, you’d hope this location’s chocolate ice cream is absolutely divine. Well, we’ve got some great news for you: this delicacy is rich, creamy, and downright delightful.
But this Gatlinburg native also serves intoxicating fudge in multiple flavors, candy apples that even Snow White wouldn’t be able to resist, and gorgeous chocolate-covered strawberries in case you’ve got any more room in your stomach (We always do!).
Maybe this list hasn’t been the best for our belt loops, but we love each and every one of these locations, from small-town businesses like Glades Soda Fountain to hard-hitting Mayfield that always hits the spot.
Thanks for coming along for the sugar high, and let us know which spots you like the most!