Today, whenever someone talks about “going to the movies,” they’re likely talking about visiting one of the massive, 20+ screen multiplexes that are a staple in almost every decent sized community in America. Once upon a time, though, going to the movies meant loading up in your car and heading out to a pasture on the outskirts of town to watch a film on a massive outdoor screen. These facilities were known as drive-ins. Several factors caused the mass demise of drive-in theaters, but the good news is that this piece of Americana isn’t completely extinct. Here are some of the best drive-in theaters you can still visit in the United States.
This classic drive-in was born in 1957 when outdoor theaters were in their hay-day. It’s the only drive-in on Cape Cod. Besides watching the movies, you can also play miniature golf and grab an old-school ice cream at the dairy bar. During the day you can visit a flea market on the grounds. Like many other drive-ins that still operate, Wellfleet is closed during the fall and winter.
The Alamo Drafthouse
Technically, this experience is more of a “dive-in” than drive-in, but for fans of the original summer blockbuster Jaws, it’s an experience NOT to be missed. Moviegoers can actually float in an inner tube on a lake and watch Jaws on a giant outdoor screen! When the movie isn’t playing, visitors can enjoy all the other attractions at Volente Beach (which hosts the event), including water slides, the Lazy Lagoon and more!
South Bay Drive-In
Imperial Beach, California
This theater is right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, ensuring that you’ll have a nice sea breeze, even on the hottest evenings. South Bay also has three movie screens, giving you more options to choose from.
Fairlee Motel and Drive-In
One of the last of its kind, the Fairlee Motel and Drive-in allows visitors both the traditional experience of seeing the film from your vehicle and the option to rent a motel room and watch the film from there!
Middle River, Maryland
Bengies is a staple among the surviving drive-in theaters in America. It also boasts the largest outdoor screen in the country, at a whopping 52 by 120 feet!