Believe it or not, we have President Ronald Reagan to thank for National Ice Cream Day. Back in 1984, which shall henceforth be known as the Stranger Things Era, Reagan declared July 15 to be National Ice Cream Day, probably at the behest of dairy farm lobbyists. It wasn't necessarily meant to be an annual occasion, but that was before marketers discovered the advantages of a good made-up holiday. On July 21 (the holiday is now on the third Sunday of the month), we can reap the benefits with discounts, extras, and so many excuses to indulge in an extra scoop.
Besides getting more sweet treats for our dollar on National Ice Cream Day, we love how searching on the hashtag reveals the great variety of local restaurants and regional chains we've never heard of before. It's enough to inspire a future road trip.
Here are some of the best deals we discovered at ice cream stands big and small:
Baskin-Robbins: You can get two pre-packed pints for just $7.99 through DoorDash, but if your purchase is $10 or more on July 21, you can use the code FREE SCOOP for a, um, free scoop. The code STRANGERTHINGS will also get you free delivery.
Cold Stone Creamery: Sign up for the My Cold Stone Club Rewards card by Saturday to get a buy-one-get-one free coupon for Sunday. You can also get a $10 ecard if you buy $30 in gift cards online.
Chaney's Dairy Barn: This farm and ice cream shop in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is holding a sweepstakes for the grand prize of 52 free scoop coupons (plus a T-shirt!). If you live anywhere near there, just visit this Facebook post, tag a friend in the comments, and share the post.
Chuck & Don's: Make a donation at any of this pet supply chain's stores and get a free ice cream sundae for your hot dog.
Dream Pops: Vegans and lactose-intolerant folks can get in on the fun too. Use the code #ICECREAMDAY on July 21 for 25% off these plant-based desserts.
Dylan's Candy Bar: Say the secret password, "National Ice Cream Day," at the register for a free scoop from 2-4 p.m.
Godiva: Visit a boutique or cafe for buy-one-get-one 50% off on parfaits and soft-serve ice cream.
Graeter's: The 149-year-old midwestern chain is selling single-dip sugar cones for just $1.49.
Halo Top: Bumble is partnering with the low-calorie creamery for some convoluted deal involving swiping to "match" with the coupon. It's for a free box of Halo Top Pops, so that's probably worth the effort.
Ice Cream Delight: This Wilmington, Delaware, ice cream shop turns National Ice Cream Day into a real celebration, so we're sure their offer of free sprinkles is just the beginning.
Johnny Rockets: Get a free milkshake with the purchase of any entree on Sunday.
Nutella Café: Be one of the first 50 customers to visit the Chicago or New York location, and you'll get a frozen Nutella pop. Everyone after that still gets a free scoop of gelato.
Petsmart and PetsHotel: Get a free doggie ice cream topped with biscuit treats on July 20 and July 21, while supplies last.
Potbelly: Say the magic words, "National Ice Cream Day," for a free large hand-dipped milkshake with the purchase of an entree.
Uniqlo: Stop by one of these Japanese clothing chains and get a free My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream on Sunday.