Hand holding two scoops of ice cream from gelato go in sarasota florida
Gelato-Go in downtown Sarasota
painting of the orange octopus logo on the wall of the ice cream shop in sarasota florida

Treat Yourself: Cool Places for Ice Cream

Where there's a beach, there better be ice cream, and you'll never be far from a frozen treat with these delicious, locally-owned shops around Sarasota County

There’s nothing like a cool treat on a warm day, and some ice cream is the perfect way to finish a little fun in the sun in Sarasota County. When the urge for a scoop (or two) strikes, here are some good places for a sweet treat that the whole family will enjoy.


interior of gelato go ice cream shop in sarasota florida

“Gelato is happiness condensed.” That quote is emblazoned on the wall at this oh-so-cool downtown Sarasota spot dishing out artisan gelato. The shop’s gelato base is made daily with fresh ingredients (including low-fat milk), and flavors often incorporate seasonal fruits. The menu at Gelato-Go can vary with each visit, but you might find options like Tiramisu, Amarena Cherry, Mascarpone, and Hazelnut. The hardest part will be deciding which flavor to choose; opt for a large cup and you can pick three different ones.

Local Chill

ice cream scoop from local chill ice cream shop in siesta key florida

This stylish ice-cream shop in the heart of Siesta Key Village—run by Siesta Key natives John and Bob Davidson plus their brother-in-law, local restauranteur Rick Munroe—makes small-batch ice cream designed to “leave you craving more.” Premium ingredients and chef-inspired recipes result in flavors like Cold Brew Sumatra Coffee, Oreos & Milk (made with Double Stuf Oreos), and Burnt Sugar Honey Brittle. Order a flight to try multiple flavors.

Nokomis Groves

Ice cream swirl cone from Nokomis Groves in florida

For seven decades, this southern Sarasota County operation has been growing oranges and grapefruit, which are available for purchase in the groves’ retail store that’s open during the winter season. But all year long you’ll find locals and visitors young and old heading to Nokomis Groves for some seriously good soft-serve ice cream, which you can order in citrusy flavors like orange and lime and classics like chocolate and vanilla. You can stack flavors or choose “swirled” options to test out different ones.

Orange Octopus

painting of orange octopus logo on wall of sarasota florida ice cream shop

Your kids will love the adorable octopus-meets-ice-cream-cone mascot at this Siesta Key shop. You will love the handmade, slow-churned ice cream available in sophisticated flavors like Kentucky Honey Bourbon, Key Lime Pie, and Creamy Mango (as well as kid-friendly choices like Cotton Candy and Birthday Cake). Wood floors, colorful seating, and beach-inspired decor make Orange Octopus an appealing place to cool off after a day on Siesta Beach’s award-winning white sands.

Big Olaf

For three decades, Big Olaf has been a go-to spot for anyone with a sweet tooth in Sarasota. The shop was founded in Siesta Key Village in 1982 and soon began drawing crowds for its made-on-site ice cream available in flavors like Amaretto Almond, Kahlua Krunch, and Butter Pecan. High-quality ingredients like high butter-fat milk produce the creamy consistency customers love. There are now multiple Sarasota-area Big Olaf locations, and ice-cream production has been moved to a facility in Sarasota’s Amish village of Pinecraft.

Mixon Fruit Farms

Head to this Bradenton citrus-growing business founded in 1939 for its famous “Orange Swirl” ice cream cones. Then stay for a day of fun that could include a tour through the groves on Mixon’s Orange Blossom Express tram, a visit to the farms’ outdoor Play Place, and some face time with the birds, reptiles, and other animals at Wildlife Inc.’s Florida Wildlife Care & Education Center. Enjoy a free cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice, grapefruit juice, or lemonade in the gift shop, where you can buy homemade fudge, honey, marmalades, and other goodies to take home.

Q&S Kool Cups Water Ice

What's the perfect mix between ice cream, italian ice, and gelato? You'll find it in this unassuming mobile ice cream stand. Marketed as "super premium Italian ice," these swirling concoctions are described as having a smoother consistency than your average Italian ice or snow cone, and much more flavor. Buy it by the cup or the bucket (we know eventually you won't be able to help yourself!). Follow Kool Cups on Facebook or Instagram to see where this modern day ice cream man will be setting up shop next!

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