With the current state of the world keeping movie theaters closed for large gatherings, America has seen a resurgence of one of its favorite pastimes: the drive-in movie theater. Although drive-ins were not completely extinct prior to COVID-19, the effects of the crippling virus has seen a revival of some and the well-timed establishment of others. And while some may think that the list of drive-ins is still extensive due to their history spanning back almost 90 years, there are actually less than 350 drive-ins left in the United States.
Drive-in theaters—now more than ever—present advantages that other theaters aren’t able to provide at this time. From staying safe and sanitized to creating the ability to socialize while still being distant, the benefits of drive-ins are more timely during this year than they have been in the past eight decades.
Ready to have fun while staying safe? Here’s our list of the best drive-in theaters in every state to keep handy at all times.
Alabama: Blue Moon Drive-In
Located in the small town of Gu-Win, Blue Moon Drive-In is the family-friendly theater that you want to stop by whenever you’re in Alabama. Offering showings on two screens on Friday and Saturday evenings, this budget-friendly drive-in has become a staple in its native state.
Alaska: No active drive-ins
Perhaps due to the constant frigid climate and long days of sun exposure, Alaska has no operating drive-ins throughout the state. According to Anchorage Daily News, though very rare, there have been a few pop-up drive-ins since Anchorage’s Sundowner theater closed in 1979. Most recently, however, Juneau and Anchorage both saw pop-up drive-in experiences to boost the local morale.
Arizona: West Wind Glendale Drive-In
Offering some of the cheapest prices you’ll see, this family owned and operated drive-in business was first established in 1952. Now expanding to four drive-in theaters in California, one in Arizona and two in Nevada, West Wind has become the largest drive-in theatre chain in the world. And, Tuesday is always family fun night.
Arkansas: Kenda Drive-In Theatre
A local favorite, Kenda Drive-In Theatre has been in business since 1966. Located in the city of Marshall — two hours from Little Rock — Kenda shows films Friday to Monday nights and unlike other theatres, also serves lunch for locals Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And yes, the drive-in is definitely pet friendly.
California: Sunset Drive-In
Noted as one of the last drive-in theaters in the state of California, Sunset Drive-In is a classic staple for the city of San Luis Obispo. Offering family-friendly prices of $8.00 for those 12 and up, $3.00 for those aged five to 11, and completely free for those four and younger, this nightly screening drive-in is the one you’ll want to pop by if driving through.
Colorado: Denver Mart Drive In
Event facility by day and drive-in by night, the Denver Mart Drive In is a great place to stop, chill and hang out with family. Equipped with the largest outdoor screen in the area, the 275 car drive-in opens promptly at 8 p.m. and the season runs from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend yearly.
Connecticut: Mansfield Drive-In Theater
Mansfield Drive-In has been owned and operated by the same local family since it was founded in 1954. Nestled in a comfy country setting, this 40-acre outside theater is equipped with three-screens, plays both single features of first-run and classic movies, and always has family-friendly options for viewing, too.
Delaware: Lefty’s Summer Drive In
The days of Delaware’s missing drive-ins are done thanks to Lefty’s Alley & Eats. Now, for the summer, the popular bowling alley and restaurant has combined retro-cool and modern convenience to deliver a drive-in experience that the whole family will love. Priced at $25 per car, the drive-in shows movies nightly beginning at 9 p.m.
Florida: Outdoor Theaters at Hard Rock Stadium
Though known as the home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, the Hard Rock Stadium has recently transformed itself into one of the largest drive-in theaters in history. Featuring both an open-air and drive-in option, this unique form of a drive-in has something for everyone to enjoy. For those who are avid Dolphins fans, the theater will host classic content from the team as well as classic films for your viewing pleasure. Worried about the ability to social distance while at the stadium? Don’t be. The stadium can accommodate up to 230 cars and the open-air option will only host small groups for an intimate experience.
Georgia: Starlight Drive-In
Atlanta’s own Starlight Drive-In Theatre, founded in 1949, is one of the few still located in the state of Georgia. Showing movies seven days a week, this iconic theater plays films that have been recently released and those that are of classic acclaim. Starlight’s $10 adult ticket price and $1 child ticket grants you admission to view two movies that play on the same screen. Talk about getting the most bang for your buck.
Hawaii: Kailua Movies Pop-Up Contactless Drive-In
It’s been over 20 years since Hawaii has seen a drive-in theater operate in the area, but this year, locals can officially celebrate the comeback. Launching in May 2020, the Kailua Movies Pop-Up Contactless Drive-In became the first drive-in to hit the state and it’s pilot run sold out in one minute. Though it’s clear that locals are excited about the resurgence of the celebrated pastime, organizers are donating the profits to non-profit groups, a local bowling alley and the companies providing the refreshments.
Idaho: The Spud Drive-In Theatre
Looking for a retro theatre with delicious food handy? The Spud Drive-In Theatre is the place you need to be. Consisting of burgers, fries and shakes and everything from retro movies to summer blockbusters, this 1950s drive-in is the place you need to be.
Illinois: Skyview Drive-In
Located right across the river from St. Louis, the Skyview Drive-In opened the summer of 1949. Showing some of your favorite throwback movies seven days a week, ticket prices come in at a mere $10 per person for those 13 and up and are free for those 12 and under.
Indiana: Georgetown Drive-In
Found a mere 20 minutes west of Louisville, the Georgetown Drive-In is a staple in southern Indiana. Running for 69 years, the iconic local drive-in operates two screens and has both the audio to stereo FM and — for those who really want to get nostalgic — a drive-in window speaker option.
Iowa: Blue Grass Drive-In
The Blue Grass Drive-In is a family-friendly drive-in with extremely affordable pricing, showing movies from March to early October. Priced at $10 for adults and $5 for kids aged four to 12, this double feature showing drive-in is also pet-friendly. And, if you wanted to display a sweet announcement for someone special, they have packages for that, too.
Kansas: Boulevard Drive-In
Holding the title of the world’s first 4K drive-in cinema, the Boulevard Drive-In has been showing films since 1950 and has 600 speakers in its field where patrons can view recently released and classic films. Admission is a mere $10 for adults with children aged 11 and under being free.
Kentucky: Sauerbeck Family Drive In
A family-owned business, the Sauerbeck Family Drive In is less than an hour outside of Louisville. Showing two back-to-back films for just $15, the theater operates seven days a week with Wednesdays dedicated to your favorite retro movies such as Grease, Footloose and more.
Louisiana: No active drive-ins
Though one would anticipate The Big Easy or any of the other cities that fill the culturally diverse state of Louisiana to be filled with drive-in theaters, there actually aren’t any present. At one point, however, the state was home to over two dozen drive-ins. Don’t completely count the idea of the state reviving drive-ins permanently though. Earlier this summer, the city of Shreveport hosted two separate drive-in movie events — one hosted by The Social Circle and the other by Downtown Shreveport.
Maine: The Skowhegan Drive-In Theatre
Never heard of Skowhegan, Maine? Perhaps this drive-in will help you become more familiar. Since 1954, this homegrown drive-in has been a staple in the Maine community. If you’re planning to stop by this cash only facility, however, be sure to check their site three to four days in advance as they don’t find out what’s playing on the screens for the weekend until the top of the week prior to.
Maryland: Bengie’s Drive-In
Located in Middle River, Maryland, Bengie’s Drive-In has been around since 1956. With the largest outdoor screen in America measuring at 52 feet high by 120 feet wide, the drive-in offers patrons the option of double and triple features from Friday to Saturday. And, during Memorial and Labor Day weekends, Bengie’s shows a full dusk-to-dawn series of movies. Be sure to check their site though because the theater is only open from early spring to late fall.
Massachusetts: Wellfleet Drive-in Theater
This 60-year-old, classic Massachusetts business is the last of its kind on Cape Cod. The theater, though it has limited its offerings, also is inclusive of an indoor cinema, a dairy bar, beer garden, a retro mini-golf course, and a flea market.
Michigan: Sunset Drive-In
Priced at $30 per carload, the Sunset Drive-In — located in Hartford — is the drive-in to visit in Michigan. Now allowing outside food and beverage (with the concession stand still serving if you want to support the business), this drive-in offers two back-to-back showings for the price required. Don’t see the movie you want? The Sunset Drive-In is the sister property to the 5 Mile Drive-In Theater in Dowagiac.
Minnesota: Sky-Vu Drive-In
Established more than 50 years ago, this Warren, Minnesota theater strives to continue keeping the legacy of its business alive. Giving customers the ability to revive the good times, if you’re in the area and stop by, you’ll be treated like nothing less than family.
Mississippi: Iuka Drive-In
The last standing drive-in in the state of Mississippi, Iuka Drive-In has been in operation since 1957. With a capacity of about 100 cars at a time, this single screen drive-in is open Friday thru Monday nights and has some of the most affordable concession stand prices that you’ll ever see.
Missouri: Starlite Drive-In
Every day of the week for only $15 per carload you can enjoy the Starlite Drive-In, which has called the city of Cadet home since 1952. Regularly showing classic films such as The Wizard of Oz and unforgettable romantic pickings like The Notebook, this drive-in has become a favorite amongst the handful that grace the state of Missouri.
Montana: Amusement Park Drive-In
Montana’s Amusement Park Drive-In has only been around since 2004, but it’s clearly a crowd-favorite: It runs seven days a week in the city of Billings. Though the drive-in does allow for patrons to bring in their own food from outside, they do require you to buy a $5 permit from the ticket booth as the majority of their profits come from concession stand purchases.
Nebraska: TK-Starlite Drive-In and Theater
Welcome to Nebraska’s longest, continually operating drive-in movie theater. The TK-Starlight Drive-In and Theater is open from mid-May to mid-August, Thursday through Saturday evenings, making it the perfect weekend outing with family or friends.
Nevada: West Wind El Rancho Drive-in
Located in Sparks, NV, this drive-in—which offers a whopping eight screenings per night—is the perfect mix of old-school nostalgia and current day technology. It’s surrounded by desert landscapes for a unique view and hosts midnight screenings for those who like to stay up late.
New Hampshire: Milford Drive-In Theater
With a $30 per car standard admission—including up to six people in the price—the Milford Drive-In Theater is one of New Hampshire’s favorite affordable summer destinations. It’s the only remaining drive-in in the southern New Hampshire area, but at 60-years-old, it’s still pretty modern: Pets are allowed and patrons can bring their own food (though supporting the concession stand is encouraged).
New Jersey: Delsea Drive-In
The Delsea Drive-In was originally built in 1949 and closed in 1987—then revived in 2004 for fans to pile in. It shows movies from Thursday to Sunday each week and has been updated with modern technologies and healthier food options. One special thing about this drive-in is that unlike many other nostalgia-filled screen viewings, Delsea now allows patrons to bring pets on Sundays—you know, so the entire family can enjoy the fun.
New Mexico: Reel Big Flix
Delivering a unique spin on a retro idea, the Reel Big Flix is a pop-up drive-in experience around Albuquerque. They showcase classic movies every Saturday in a new location around the city to be able to serve all the communities in Albuquerque. Food and beverage will also be available via food trucks serving options from local restaurants and breweries.
New York: The Finger Lakes Drive-In
Touted as the oldest continuously running and operated drive-in theater in the state of New York, The Finger Lakes Drive-In is one you’ll have to stop by even if it’s just for bragging rights. Combining both nostalgic charm rooted in its 1940s inception and modern day technology, this Auburn-based family-friendly drive-in offers an unforgettable time.
North Carolina: Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater
Founded in the summer of 1949 under the initial name of the Moon-Glo, Henderson’s own Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater is the oldest operating drive-in in the state of North Carolina. Both family- and pet-friendly, Raleigh Road shows both first-run new releases and your favorite classics. The best part? You can stop by seven days a week, year-round.
North Dakota: No active drive-ins
If you’ve been waiting to get down this list in hopes of finding that North Dakota has a drive-in, we’re sorry to disappoint. Though it was previously home to a few, the last drive-in to call North Dakota home was the Lake Park Drive-In, which was a single screen drive-in that could hold up to 450 cars per showing. Sadly, it closed in 2012 and was demolished shortly after.
Ohio: Holiday Auto Theater
Planning on road tripping through Ohio soon? You’ll want to stop by the Holiday Auto Theater in Hamilton, if so. This 72-year-old spot shows throwback films such as Field of Dreams and upcoming releases like the anticipated Marvel film Black Widow. If you’re looking for indie releases by local filmmakers, Holiday Auto Theater also premiers local films on certain nights.
Oklahoma: Winchester Drive-In Theatre
A landmark in Oklahoma City, the Winchester Drive-In Theatre is infamous for hosting large crowds each weekend since its opening well over 50 years ago. It offers a full-service concession stand and movies ranging from throwbacks to more recent releases, making it a local staple in the community. And while they do allow small dogs to come along to the viewing party, if you bring your own food in the theatre, a $20 fee will be charged.
Oregon: Sunshine Mill Pop-Up Drive-In
If you’re local to Oregon—or will be driving through any time soon—it’s a must that you stop by The Dalles’ own Sunshine Mill Winery. Now of course, you’ll want to drop in for some of their delicious red and white wines, but from Thursday to Saturday, you’ll also be able to view movies at their pop-up drive-in. The Mill offers throwback movies on Thursday, movies for adults on Friday, and family-friendly movies on Saturday. They’ve even bring food and drink to each car’s designated wine barrel so as to keep with social distancing. Want to know the best part about this pop-up? It’s only $20 per car to drop in.
Pennsylvania: Becky’s Drive-in
Though Shankweiler’s Drive-in Theatre—the oldest drive-in in America—may be the Pennsylvania drive-in that you’re most familiar with, Becky’s Drive-In should be on your radar, too. Located in Walnutport, this classic drive-in will take you back to simpler times filled with love and comfort.
Rhode Island: Rustic Drive-In
The Rustic Drive-In is perfect for those wanting to get out and enjoy the starry Rhode Island nights. It operates Wednesday through Sunday evenings and truly takes you back to the good ol’ days. Only for a limited time, though, as its season runs from late April to late October.
South Carolina: Hwy 21 Drive In
Nestled in the coastal town of Beaufort, Highway 21 Drive-In is only one of three drive-ins in the state of South Carolina. Tickets cost a mere $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and military, $3 for kids aged five to 12, and free for those four and under. The best part: They sell funnel cakes!
South Dakota: Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive-In
Roy’s was first all-digital drive-in movie theater in the United States when it opened in 2012, and it has become a go-to spot for entertainment for the city of Hermosa and surrounding areas. The drive-in also has the largest screens in the U.S. at 80 feet wide. If it seems like tickets would be super pricey for this iconic theater, don’t worry. Prices are only $8 for adults and $6 for kids, seniors, and military members.
Tennessee: The Rockin’ Parkway Drive-In and Cafe
Welcoming up to 400 cars each night, The Rockin’ Parkway Drive-In and Cafe operates Fridays and Saturdays as well as special select nights. Adult tickets are priced at $8 while children aged five to 12 are $4, and those under five are free.
Texas: Coyote Drive-In
Perhaps one of the most well-known drive-ins in the state of Texas is Coyote Drive-In, which has only been in business since 2011. Equipped with four screens that each show double features, this drive-in will be one that you’ll never want to veer away from visiting. It boasts an extensive and delicious menu, which patrons can enjoy all while having Fort Worth’s skylines as their background.
Utah: Redwood Drive-In Theatre
Redwood Drive-In Theatre has been around since 1948 and has established itself as one of the Salt Lake areas best businesses. The double feature drive-in shows both oldie, but goodie films and first-run releases on Sunday thru Wednesday. One of the best parts about the drive-in is that while adult tickets are $10, children aged five to nine get in for only $1.
Vermont: Sunset Drive-In
Currently in its 72nd year of business, Vermont’s Sunset Drive-In has four screens that play double features each night. Standard adult pricing is $12, while children under 12 are $7 each.
Virginia: Hull’s Drive-In
Holding the title as the nation’s first non-profit drive-in, Hull’s Drive-In has been in business for more than 50 years. Though the drive-in only has one screen, it’s long-standing history is just a small reason to get you to pop in for a good time. Hull’s operates from Thursday to Sunday with its season running from March to the end of October.
Washington: Blue Fox Drive-In
Located on the northern tip of Whidbey Island—which is only 60 miles north of Seattle—the Blue Fox Drive-In has been in business since 1959 and has been embraced by locals for decades. There’s a rotating a variety of classic favorites on the big screen, and it only costs $10 per car. (There are Go Karts there, too!)
West Virginia: Hilltop Drive-In Theater
Hilltop Drive-In has been one of Chester’s most beloved traditions since 1950. Priding itself on superb customer service while supplying customers with both first-run movies and memorable films of the past, this is one of the theaters that you’ll want to keep on your radar while traveling through West Virginia. Additionally, the theater has reduced their pricing to $6 adult tickets, $2 for those aged five to 11, $4 for seniors and no cost for military members with I.D. as a result of COVID-19’s impact.
Wisconsin: Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre
Home of Wisconsin’s first digital cinema drive-in, the Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre was founded in 1953. Located near a cornfield on the corner of highways 18 and 89 in the city of Jefferson, this nostalgia induced drive-in can hold more than 500 cars during one showing. Although it’s only open from late April/early May through September, the drive-in runs seven nights a week during its season.
Wyoming: Terry Bison Ranch Drive In Movie Night
Brought to you by The Chinook Theatre and Terry Bison Ranchin Cheyenne, the Terry Bison Ranch Drive-In Movie Night is a newly launched experience that the entire family can enjoy. It offers family-friendly and classic films on the nights that they operate and also features live music performances prior to the films starting. Prices for a secured spot are $25 with live performances beginning at 7 p.m. and films showing at 9 p.m.
Source: Read Full Article