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Le Mars, Iowa: “The Ice Cream Capital of the World.”
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Le Mars, Iowa: “The Ice Cream Capital of the World.”

As a traveler, you likely choose vacation destinations based on what you love. You might enjoy a rugged outdoor adventure, or lux hotels that inexplicably serve you little mints on your pillow. However, while these are certainly fun experiences, one critical amenity rises above the rest. I am talking about the ready availability of frozen dairy treats and we need look no further then Le Mars, Iowa.

Yes, fellow ice cream connoisseurs, you are in good company if your vacation plans revolve around the quest for the perfect piece of frozen Heaven. And if you have always dreamed of visiting the world’s most prolific ice cream producer, you cannot find it anywhere other than in Iowa. In 1994, our own lovely city of Le Mars was officially crowned “The Ice Cream Capital of the World.” While this monumental event did did not drum up the press coverage of more dull coronations such as those of foreign royalty, it was a legitimate political resolution that passed the legislature. And, you know they mean business.

How I would have loved to witness it. I would have been the girl in the whimsical banana split hat, crying like a crazed teenaged pop singer’s fan and begging the ice cream scoopers for autographs.

Not surprisingly, the Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center was named the 2000 Iowa Tourism Attraction of the Year by The Iowa Division of Tourism. Having begun the dairy company back in 1913, these folks know what they are doing with their vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The owners’ description boasts that offerings include “interactive exhibits, an ice cream factory, a museum and an ice cream parlor.”

They had me at “interactive.”

It should be noted that the population of Le Mars is a cozy group of just 9,975 residents, so with an ice cream factory this size, you are guaranteed plenty of leftovers. Unless, of course, I am there. My recommendation would be that you beat me to next year’s summer"Ice Cream Days" festival, or you might just have to settle for a glimpse of me high-tailing it out of town, carrying thousands of insulated doggy bags.


Image Courtesy of Denise Krebs/Flickr/ Creative Commons License

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