Whether you’re a newcomer to the area or an old-timer, Matlacha and its unique assortment of shops and eateries are like diamonds in the rough that is often times overlooked. While the crowds head for well advertised, tourist packed shops of Sanibel and Ft Myers Beach, those in the know head to a little shop that serves home-made, hand dipped ice cream that will take you back to your grandmother’s back porch where every care was taken to create those frozen treats that were nothing short of a blessing on a hot summer day.
What You Will Find
Great Licks Ice Cream is the place that locals have long cherished for its truly delicious creations that are made using natural ingredients and often incorporate locally grown fruits such as mango, berries, and bananas They even have a flavor to honor the official state pie of Florida – Key Lime. Sorbet is also on the menu and the smiling face behind the counter is always happy to let you sample a flavor or two…or three in order to allow your taste buds to make their favorite choice. These special treats are served up in cups, cones and in dishes with added topping that include fruit and/or sauces. You can even order a mixed drink of sorts – Pina Colada is a big hit with coconut ice cream with pineapple smothered with Captain Morgan Rum. If you are into the spicy side of flavor, order a scoop or two of the mango-habanero for a incredible sensation you won’t soon forget. For those who prefer to stand with tradition, the natural vanilla won’t disappoint and the selection of chocolate inspired flavors will make your head spin. It’s easy to see and taste why guests on TripAdvisor gave this gem of an ice cream parlor their highest rating and voted Great Licks the 2014 Winner of Excellence. Locals have known how “great” this tiny shop is for a long time and voted it ‘The Island’s Best’ each and every year since 2009.
The Total Experience
Though Great Licks shop is small in scale, there is plenty of room to sit and enjoy your selection on cute, colorful and clean soda shop style chairs just outside the door. If you want a break from the Florida Sun, a comfortable and cozy area is waiting for you through an inside passage that connects the parlor to the adjacent art gallery. You are welcome to sit back, relax and feed your tummy while your eyes feast on incredible paintings, framed photographs, one of a kind art pieces, hand crafted jewelry, unique sculptures – the list goes on and on. Once your eyes and stomach are sated, head back through Great Licks and pick up some jars of yummy Paradise Gardens Preserves, Jellies & Sauces which are, of course, locally made with, you guessed it, local ingredients. Pine Island Spices are also available for purchase and contain no sugar while low in sodium. These island goodies are made in small batches and are an easy way to take the taste of Paradise home with you, whether you live across the bridge or across the country.
Address and Hours
4346 Pine Island Road
Matlacha, Florida 33993
Open Daily from 11 am to 8 pm, closed for some holidays.
- From North Ft. Myers, travel west on SR 78 (Pine Island Road) towards Pine Island and cross the draw bridge.
- From Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, travel south on Burnt Store Road and turn right onto SR 78 (Pine Island Road) towards Pine Island and cross the draw bridge.
- From Naples, travel north on US 41 and cross thru Cape Coral via the Midpoint Bridge and follow Veterans Parkway west and then turn left onto SR 78 (Pine Island Road) towards Pine Island and cross the draw bridge.