The dog days of summer – those painstakingly hot, humid, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky kind of days we yearn for all year – are finally upon us. There’s no better time to be a coastal resident, as the perfect afternoon is right outside our doorstep. For these precious three months, we answer the rhythmic call of the ocean with an anxious enthusiasm. We eat lobster rolls, fried clams and fresh fish to our heart’s desire. And when we’re finished, we top it all off with a stop at the local ice cream parlor. Frankly, it just wouldn’t be summer on the north shore without a cone (or cup) of your favorite flavor in hand – and we’ve got the scoop on the best places in the area.

With so many places to choose from, this is by no means an exhaustive list. For instance, how could we leave off Hodgies, Simply Sweet, Harbor Creamery – the list goes on. So take this list with one grain of salt (no more than that, doctor’s orders) and enjoy your sweet treat after some long yard work or outdoor exercise when your body is most likely to need a slight boost.

Dolce Freddo Gelator

38 Market Square, Newburyport

For a taste of Italy, look no further. Dolce’s brings the home of gelato to downtown Newburyport. The gelateria uses equipment from Italy to make homemade creations daily. And with more than 120 flavors to try, you’ll need to visit more than once. There’s everything from the classic vanilla and chocolate to more unique blends, like cannoli, pineapple-kiwi and pink grapefruit.

Lago’s Ice Cream

71 Lafayette Road, Rye, New Hampshire

If you’ve never tried Lago’s, add it to your list. This New Hampshire ice creamery invented multiple flavors, including its award-winning Kahlua Fudge Brownie. Its sister restaurant, Lone Oak in Rochester, New Hampshire, invented the Cow Pie flavor – brownie ice cream, brownie chunks, fudge swirl and chocolate chips – which is also available at Lago’s. Other originals include Cappuccino Slam, Money Mess, Salty Sailor, Orange Pineapple and Scotty Lago’s and Bronze Run.

Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream

49 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

With nearly 30 years in business, Annabelle’s knows what it takes to produce the perfect scoop. Its rich creations feature 16 percent butter fat and no additives or artificial colors. Unique finds include the Cashew Caramel Cluster: caramel ice cream with roasted cashews and chocolate chunks, Swiss Chocolate Avalanche: chocolate ice cream with pecans, walnuts, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chunks and white chocolate swirls, and Mint Summer’s Night Dream: mint chocolate ice cream with dark and white chocolate chunks.

Memories Ice Cream

95 Exeter Road, Kingston, New Hampshire

This place packs a punch, so bring a cooler because there’s plenty you’ll want to take home to save for later. On top of the more than 45 flavors, Memories also offers weekly and monthly specials, along with ice cream cakes and sandwiches, made daily. Dairy free and vegan eaters are also in luck — there are several dairy free flavors and sorbets. There’s even a vanilla bean made entirely of organic ingredients.

Dunne’s Ice Cream

214 Nubble Road, York, Maine

A hop skip and a jump from Newburyport, the trip to this local ice cream parlor is worth it. Formerly Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, the Browns, and later Steve Dunne, have been serving up Maine-made ice cream since 1967. They’ve got all the classics, along with periodic specials, like Strawberry Lemonade and Unicorn Magic. The shop is a quick two minute drive to the Nubble Lighthouse, so you’ll be able to have your treat while taking in the views.