Regional road trips are all the rage right now. Many folks feel most comfortable hopping in the car with their loved ones and exploring sights that are off the beaten path. Some of those sights may even be in your own backyard! For plenty of regional travel ideas, check-in every Wednesday for a Downstate Illinois Road Trip Roundup on themed topics showcasing several destinations across the southern portion of the state. July is National Ice Cream Month, so we’ll focus on some of the best places to get a dairy treat in our region of the state!
July is national ice cream month and if you’re looking for somewhere to indulge, Carbondale has many choices. Cool Spoons Frozen Yogurt sells a variety of high-quality custard, ice cream and frozen yogurts with 18 flavors and over 150 toppings ranging from candy and fruits to nuts and sauces. Being self-serve, you can customize your ice cream as you wish! Blend Tea & Crepe has mastered the art of the crepe, offering a variety of sweet and savory in a laid-back setting. You can customize your ice cream crepes choosing the type of crepe filling such as peanut butter, chestnut, or Nutella as well as the ice cream flavor such as butter pecan, strawberry cheesecake, moose track or orange sherbet. At Keepers Quarters you can enjoy ice cream while dining in or get it to-go from their Bodega. They offer unique blends of flavors such as blueberry cinnamon, vanilla chai, peanut butter and jelly and macaron madness. They also have sherbets as well. There is plenty more ice cream where that came from! Whether you’re looking for an ice-cream sandwich from Insomnia Cookies, a blizzard from Dairy Queen, frozen custard from Culver’s or Freddy’s, or a shake from Sonic, there is somewhere in Carbondale sure to satisfy your ice cream cravings!
Homewood Grill is a family-friendly landmark located in Effingham, Illinois, and has been family-owned and operated since 1985. Over the years, this local hot spot has tempted taste buds and won hearts with their iconic ice cream treats and dedication to excellent customer service! Perhaps this is why visitors and residents, alike, count down the days until this seasonal establishment re-opens each spring. Homewood Grill offers a little bit of everything to satisfy whatever you’re craving. Indulge in nine unique flavors of homemade, hand-dipped ice cream, eleven flavors of creamy soft-serve and both Yo-Cream frozen yogurt and DoleWhip treats in the ‘Flavor of the Day’. In addition to their infamous ice cream, Homewood also offers ice cream pies (made upon request), specialty sundaes, milkshakes and malts, non-fat smoothies and a variety of hot and savory menu items, as well. Located at 608 S. Willow St., this local legend looks the part of the quintessential hometown ice cream stand. Don’t be fooled though, this retro façade is bursting with innovation. With fun, new flavors like ‘Bluety Pebbles,’ an ice cream truck that can be rented out for events and social media challenges that involve eating your way through 25 flavors of their beloved ‘shake-n-mores’, Homewood is keeping up with the times, while remaining utterly timeless. Join us, this month, in celebrating National Ice Cream Month across the great state of Illinois. And if you happen to find yourself here in Effingham, at the crossroads of I-57 and I-70, be sure to stop by and see our friends at Homewood Grill… where you can find delicious diversions all summer long.
If you’re looking for a delicious way to cool off this summer, ILLINOISouth has the solution for you! There are dozens of unique, tasty ice cream shops throughout our 21 counties stretching across southern Illinois. If you’re looking for a sweet treat after a day of seeing sites such as the World’s Largest Mailbox, key, wooden shoes, and more in Casey, Illinois – you have to check out The Big Dipper. This family owned and operated shop is constantly adding delicious flavors to their menu, from classic favorites such as Moose Tracks to unique treats like Carrot Mango Italian Ice! Don’t miss out on their Donut Extreme, complete with your choice of ice cream drizzled with syrup and sandwiched between a donut with candy to top it off. Another popular spot is Ice Cream Korner in Iuka, which is well known for its specialty sundaes – but their claim to fame is the banana split that could easily just be a meal! With a menu full of items like chicken, salad, fish, wraps, and more in addition to their delicious ice cream, there is no craving that Walton’s Ice Cream & More in Smithton can’t solve. Their frozen treats are the highlight of their menu, ranging from floats and shakes to cones and sundaes. They have countless specialty concretes, including unique flavors such as Gooey Butter Cake, Elvis Delight, and Puppy Chow! The menu at Walton’s has grown almost every day since its opening, so you never know what delicious dessert will be waiting for you!
Of course you expect to see Superman when you are in Metropolis, IL, but Sissy’s - A Sweet Shoppe can add a sweet treat to fulfill your Man of Steel craving. Just in time for Summer, Superman Ice Cream has arrived for visitors and locals alike! This delicious artisan vanilla ice cream wonderfully swirls the iconic Superman Red, Blue and Yellow together to create not just a delicious treat but a beautiful one as well. Sissy’s offers a variety of ice cream flavors, but none are as “super” as this scoop. Sissy’s is located just a block away from the Superman Statue at 613 Market Street.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! Not much can make a hot summer day happy quite like a cool, creamy ice cream treat! Near Mt. Vernon in Jefferson County, there are two ice cream socials and two special ice cream shops to add to your Ice Cream Bucket List! On July 10, visit the annual Ice Cream Social and Antique Tractor & Car Show put on by the Bluford Ruritan club! Members make scrumptious homemade ice cream in a large variety of flavors. There will also be a car show, antique tractor show, and large food court serving hamburgers, pork burgers, hot dogs and homemade ice cream. Car registration begins at 2 p.m. Food and ice cream available starting at 3 p.m. and carry out is available. There will be a live auction at 6 p.m. Proceeds from this event help support the Webber Township Volunteer Fire Department. A Drive-thru Ice Cream Social will be held at the Jefferson County Historical Village on August 14th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy an ice cream sundae, cookie or cake and a drink at the village or on the go while supporting the Village and their many programs keeping history alive in Jefferson County! Take a drive around beautiful Rend Lake and make sure to stop at Twist And Shake, located at Bonnie Café in Bonnie, Illinois! Have a delicious meal at the café and top off with dessert… or live on the wild side and have dessert first! We won’t judge! The newest shop in Jefferson County is YELLIN’ Helen’s, an ice cream shop that offers a small menu of hot foods in Dix, Illinois. YELLIN’ Helen’s has a spectacular regular menu and special flavors of the day only available for limited times such as maple, huckleberry, lemon and Dole Whip flavors like pineapple, orange and cherry! The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches melt in your mouth and the gourmet hot dog is the cherry on top of the summer sundae making you feel like a kid again with the delectable treats!
Shake off the summer heat with a sweet treat in Williamson County! La Galeria Mexican Creamery offers authentic, gourmet scoops and popsicles with delicious, unique flavors and fresh fruits! Jack & Josie’s and The S.I. Mercantile offer artisanal hand dipped scoops made in house in Downtown Marion. Looking for convenience? Order online at The Merc! Sweet Thangs & Such, conveniently located near the Lake of Egypt, offers several Dole soft serve flavors to cool down with after a long day on the water! They also offer other treats like shakes and their own “Freaky Fred” creation with ice cream and blended toppings! The Downtown Dip is coming soon to Carterville! This new local shop has broken ground on their new family business and plans to be open by fall 2021! Whether you’re looking for house-made, hand dipped ice cream or sweet summer favorites, you can enjoy them all when you visitSI.