Ice Cream Favorites In The Black Hills Of South Dakota

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

July 14, 2023

Ice cream lovers, this one's for you!

Dog enjoying vanilla ice cream from Armadillos in Rapid City, SD
Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe

No trip to Rapid City is complete without indulging in a tasty treat from one of the local ice cream shops. Each place listed here is a must-try for various reasons. So, to find your favorite, you'll have to try them all!

Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe

Ice cream sitting on table at Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe in Rapid City, SD
Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe

Since its opening in 1996, standing in line outside Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe to get a frozen treat has become a beloved summer tradition for many Rapid City locals. There are plenty of reasons why this little ice cream shop holds a special place in people's hearts. First, they serve some of the most delightful ice cream flavors I've ever tasted. Second, you get your money's worth with everything on the menu.

Ice cream line at Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe in Rapid City, SD
Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe

What makes Armadillos unique and truly great? The answer lies in the "Flavor of the Day". Die-hard fans know exactly which dates to visit to experience the oh-so-amazing flavors like Strawberry Butter or delicious Black Cherry. The flavor changes every few days, so if you're not a fan of the current flavor, don't worry! Armadillos also offers spectacular sundaes, malts, shakes, dipped cones, smoothies, Italian Ices, and more. The menu is extensive, and even after all these years, I still haven't tried it all, which is somewhat surprising. If I don't go for the Flavor of the Day, a few of my personal favorites include the Lauren's Landslide—a chocolate and vanilla twist cone dipped in chocolate, drizzled with caramel, and sprinkled with cookie dough. Another great choice is Tyler's Turtle—a combination of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, and pecans. 

*Pro Tip: Twist the flavor of the day with their vanilla. The full flavor on its own can sometimes be a bit too overpowering for some, and there's something utterly delicious about Armadillo's vanilla ice cream.

The Silver Lining Creamery

Silver Linings worker holding up a chocolate dipped waffle cone filled with ice cream in rapid city sd
The Silver Lining Creamery

Our next stop showcases the magical creations of The Silver Lining Creamery. Equally delicious as Armadillos, this ice cream takes on a thicker, creamier texture thanks to its handcrafted creation and 14% butterfat content. They always offer a great selection of rotating flavors that range from fruity to savory and even sorbet.

Indoor charm of the silver lining creamery in downtown rapid city sd
The Silver Lining Creamery

The Silver Lining Creamery location is as charming as it gets. You can grab a stool or choose a table inside or outside. You have the option to order through the window or walk in and admire the flavorful lineup in the glass case. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of them making a fresh batch, as all their ice cream is made in-house. Conveniently located right next to the fountains at Main Street Square, it's the perfect spot for a sunny day treat after enjoying the square. Silver Linings also offers the option to create your own milkshake by selecting from a list of flavors or creating a new one with add-ins. And if you want an extra delicious crunch with your ice cream, try it in their waffle cones, available in regular or chocolate dipped. 

*Pro Tip: Sample a few flavors before committing to one. Some may sound interesting (looking at you Sweet Ricotta and Honeyed Fig), but trust me, they are all delicious.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Thomas Jefferson ice cream scoop inside the carvers cafe at mount rushmore in south dakota
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Ice cream makes every experience better, even at one of the most iconic places in the world. As you marvel at the wonders of Mount Rushmore, why not savor one of the oldest ice cream recipes in America? While Thomas Jefferson didn't introduce ice cream to the United States, he did have the first known ice cream recipe recorded by an American, and you can try it at Mount Rushmore. Carver's Café offers a variety of different ice cream flavors, but if you want to taste the TJ creation, go for the vanilla. And let me tell you, this historic recipe tastes pretty sweet. Enjoy it in a cone or a cup while strolling down the avenue of flags and standi in front of the President who shared this treat with us.

cone of thomas jefferson ice cream in front of mount rushmore national memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial @valeriamaccaferri

This iconic ice cream is created by a small business called Pride Dairy, located in Bottineau, North Dakota, and then shipped to Mount Rushmore. 

*Pro Tip: Look for the printout featuring Thomas Jefferson's handwritten ice cream recipe, which you can take home as a memento.

Ice cream is the ultimate summertime treat, but let's be real, it tastes just as amazing any time of the year. Just a heads-up, if you're visiting during the off-season Armadillos may be closed, and Silver Linings Creamery might have limited hours. Be sure to check before heading to either. Looking for more delicious options in the area? Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly emails with all sorts of goodies straight to your inbox. Or feel free to browse through the related content below!