Scoops of Delicious on the Outer Banks

Being from New Hampshire, where homemade ice cream can be found almost everywhere, I have fairly high expectations for local ice cream. I’m not content with whatever the local, cheap premium offerings are. I like to taste the local flavor, you know? In touristy, vacation areas, ice cream places are everywhere, and that can make digging for the good stuff a real challenge. That’s especially true here in the Outer Banks, where most places don’t have a website and at best have an active Facebook page. But we’ve done the hard work of sorting out the local offerings for you, so you can focus on enjoying your ice cream, and here is one of our favorites.

Scoops could easily get lost in the shuffle of touristy shops in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. But it shouldn’t – this place is special. Their Nags Head location is in a small, two-story shopping plaza that includes Kitty Hawk Kites, a fun boutique, a fudgery and more. 

Their Kill Devil Hills location is a few miles north of that, on the opposite side of the street. They’re close enough to each other that we recommend visiting whichever one is on the more convenient side of the street. 

When we first visited Scoops, it was after trying out two other local, homemade ice cream offerings in the area. We hadn’t been super-impressed and weren’t expecting to be here. But lucky for us, Scoops is really worth a visit. Ignore the few non-homemade offerings in the case (it will be obvious) and stick with Scoops for some creamy ice cream in original flavors that are perfect for summer. They’re also excellent at recreating the flavor of particularly non-ice cream foods.

Here are some of the diverse offerings we’ve tried, with our thoughts:

Mandarin Chocolate Chip – A summer fun orange flavor with less sweet chocolate chips. A much more upscale sherbet/chocolate jimmies/sprinkles combination!

Beach Cooler – This is like a pina colada, but with banana instead of pineapple. I loved the first bite, although I was less enthralled after that. The fluffy texture is great. It reminds you of a delicious coconut beverage, and the texture is so fun that it kind of re-sold me as I ate more of it!

Cantaloupe – The real fruit is subtle, and this is too! Not very sweet and tastes just like the real thing. It’s awesome, a perfect summer flavor. 

Chocolate – Expect a lighter chocolate flavor, super creamy and melt in your mouth delicious. 

Butterfinger – So fun! It tastes just like the candy. 

Salted Caramel – This is pleasant, but not striking. The consistency is similar to a cheap coffee ice cream. It reminded me of a cheap caramel candy. 

Cotton Candy – This one is highly recommended! It honestly tastes just like the real thing. If you like cotton candy, you need to experience this for yourself! 

Mint Chocolate Chip – Charming, with good chocolate chips, but not revelatory. 

Strawberry Cheesecake – This has an excellent fruity base with a real creaminess to it, with excellent chunks of cheesecake. 

Heavenly Hash – Uses their already great chocolate base, so it’s delicious. 

Chocolate Brownie – Ross’ review is that this is the “same chocolate we know and love with chunks of moist, delicious brownie”.

Butter Pecan – A light, sweet ice cream with a wonderful buttery aftertaste.

Amaretto – Very good and tastes authentic. 

Scoops is one of two great options for ice cream on the Outer Banks. They’re reliably tasty, but they’re also extraordinarily friendly. They’re one of the few places that encourage you to try whatever flavors you’d like, and they will combine flavors into a scoop too. And it’s very affordable!

Both locations have pleasant places to sit – Nags Head outside in the shade or in view of the ocean, and Kill Devil Hills inside like a traditional ice cream parlor. We’ve also sampled a tasty burger in Nags Head, so this is a great option for a fairly quick, cheap meal. (Think under $3 for a burger.) 

Their ice cream melts in your mouth and is never icy, and they make gorgeous ice cream cakes if you should need one. We recommend a side of hot fudge to put on top! 

They also carry some delightful candy, including locally made bacon truffles. You’ll want to try one – trust us on that. And we hear the Nags Head location has some fun live music during the summer. 


One thing to note? Everyone around here has flexible hours, depending on traffic and maybe their whim. So call ahead and be willing to go to the other location if one is closed. Less of an issue in the heart of the summer, but the sign says to be aware of this. 

We love Scoops and if we are in the area, we always try to stop in for a scoop or two. We’re very thankful for this local homemade ice cream option on the Outer Banks!

Free Cone Day Is What You Make Of It

This past Tuesday was Free Cone Day, at least according to Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve only attended Free Cone Day a few times – maybe 3 times? Mostly because a) Ben & Jerry’s is usually downtown and/or out of my way (Meredith & Manchester, NH are the two I’ve participated in) and because b) as much as I enjoy Ben & Jerry’s, it’s more expensive and not super local when compared to my usual haunts, so I tend to gravitate towards the local ice cream places instead. I do love their work toward free trade & organic (and now a vegan flavor) though, so I have to applaud them for that.

In any case, Meredith is more than an hour away for me, which definitely wouldn’t justify a trip…except that I had to go to a rehearsal 20 minutes away on Tuesday. So I had a visit penciled in, obviously. Free Cone Day is fun. You usually have to stand in line for a long time, but it gives you plenty of time to choose your flavor. They usually let you get an extra scoop if you donate a buck to charity too.

Unfortunately, my plans were derailed. The day prior, my husband and I realized that he needed some library books – and because we live in a tiny town aka village, the library wouldn’t be open when he was free. So despite my best efforts to arrive promptly when the library opened at 2 p.m., by the time I’d found and checked out books, I knew that Ben & Jerry’s just wouldn’t fit into my schedule before rehearsal.

Saddened, I began the trip south. But about halfway, I had a realization…if I didn’t have to go out of my way, I would be getting to rehearsal VERY early. Which meant I had time for ice cream! It wouldn’t be Ben & Jerry’s, and it wouldn’t be free, but at least I could fulfill my ice cream craving!

IMG_2221So rather than drive non-stop, I pulled off the highway at M & M Scoops in Plymouth. They’re right downtown, perfect for Plymouth State University students, and they have an old-fashioned ice cream counter that serves soups & basic lunch food as well as Blake’s ice cream. Prices are reasonable ($3.60 for a scoop that is really 2 scoops) and Blake’s is delicious. I have never managed to try anything but ice cream though – let me know if you have!

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I went with an old favorite – Graham Central Station. It’s a guaranteed Jamie-pleaser. Graham cracker ice cream, with “a graham cracker variegate and chocolate covered crisp candy”. It’s delightful. Very smooth and creamy (one of the smoothest textures I’ve found in NH), never icy, rich and awesome. And it was a gorgeous afternoon for ice cream.

IMG_2212So, I celebrated Free Cone Day by paying for ice cream. But you know what? I really lucked out, because at least for me, it was Free Parking Day in Plymouth! Someone left me 90 minutes on the meter. Pretty great!

I haven’t been able to blog about all of my recent ice cream adventures, so you can look forward to more soon. I love having a back catalogue of ice cream awesomeness.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful week!

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