This State Is More Obsessed With Ice Cream Than All the Rest


This week, Yahoo Food is celebrating America’s favorite dessert with a series of profiles, recipes and photo galleries all dedicated to the creamy, delicious dessert. Check out our Ice Cream page for complete coverage!


Which ice cream flavor would you choose? Photo: Kelly Campbell/StockFood

In these sticky final days of summer, frozen treats have a particular pull on us. Where to in the United States should likeminded ice cream obsessives make a beeline? According to Yelp, the state with the most ice cream, frozen yogurt, and gelato shops per capita is… drumroll, please… Hawaii!

Hawaii is a tiny place (the entire state encompasses just under 11,000 square miles), but it boasts more frozen treat shops per person than anywhere else in the country, with 299 shops for a population of just 1.4 million. Perhaps the distinction is thanks to its ice cream-friendly climate: In Honolulu, the average year-round temperature is a a toasty 77.6°F.

Coming in at second and third places respectively were Maine and New Hampshire. Both are in New England, which according to Peggy Armstrong of the International Dairy Foods Association, has long had a rich ice cream-eating tradition.


Which is your favorite: gelato or ice cream? Photo: Basti V/Flickr

“We’ve been hearing rumors for years that New England might have the most ice cream eaters in the country,” Armstrong told Yahoo Food (though Hawaiians likely have something to say about that). “It doesn’t surprise me that Maine and New Hampshire came up near the top. [Ice cream] is part of their regional culture.” New Hampshire even has its own ice cream trail, which includes stops at 43 local ice cream stands, while Maine is home to beloved chains like Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream and Shain’s of Maine.

Of course, if you’re looking at states with the most ice cream shops overall, the story is different. California has the most by far, with 4,263 ice cream, fro-yo, and gelato shops across its nearly 160,000 square miles. This makes sense considering that California is the largest milk producer in the Union. In second and third places respectively are two more top milk-producing states: New York (2,219 total shops) and Texas (1,942 total shops). 


Cup or cone? Photo: ashton/Flickr

But our research also yielded some puzzling facts. For instance, Wisconsin, the second top milk-producing state in 2014, boasts only a measly 464 frozen treat shops. What gives? Also, Washington, D.C., has more gelato shops per capita than anywhere else in the country. Maybe the Italian embassy has more pull than we’d thought?

As for those unlucky states with the fewest ice cream shops per capita? That sad distinction goes to Arkansas, Alabama, and — coming in at dead last —Mississippi. But West Virginia is the unfortunate state with the fewest overall shops, with just 43 places to get a frozen fix across the entire state. (North Dakota wasn’t much better with just 44 shops across the state, but c’mon, it’s North Dakota, which is famous for its frigid winters.)

Enjoy these final days of summer when soaring temperatures mean ice cream is at its most refreshing. Although who are we kidding: ice cream is an all-year affair.

More ice cream stories from Yahoo Food:

10 Insanely Creative Ice Cream Sandwiches We Are Dying to Try

The Results Are In: Ice Cream Is America’s Favorite Dessert

The Vanilla Ice Cream Taste Test: We Tried 6 Brands and Ranked Them

Raspberry & Banana Instant Ice Cream from ‘Deliciously Dairy Free’

How This Dairy Queen Has Gone Rogue Since 1949