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10 of the Best Drive-In Movie Theaters Around the Country

Please welcome back: the drive-in movie.

Going to the movies in the “regular” sense (entering a building and sitting down in it) isn’t something that really exists in most of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up seeing a movie on the big screen completely. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted a revival of the drive-in movie theater, something that has always been around but has been, perhaps, tossed to the side. These drive-in theaters around the country not only will show you a good time but will also transport you back in time—that time being “when you used the radio in your car.”

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PHOTO: Wellfleet Drive In Theater/Facebook
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Wellfleet Drive-In Theater

WHERE: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Wellfleet is the only drive-in movie theater in the Cape Cod area, and it will take you back in time, to the 1950s. They play movies most days of the week, plus there’s a full snack bar. They have strict COVID-19 guidelines, as well, and require patrons to wear masks whenever they exit their cars and cannot keep in line with social distancing rules. Since it’s the only drive-in theater in Cape Cod, it’s important to remember to buy your tickets well ahead of time.

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PHOTO: Levin Aerial Works, LLC
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Mansfield Drive-In

WHERE: Mansfield, Connecticut

Open since 1954, Mansfield Drive-In is not only a drive-in theater but also hosts a flea market on the weekends (although, at the moment, it’s closed until March 2021). There are three screens that cover around 40 acres, and they play both classic films and new releases. There’s also a classic snack bar serving hot dogs, burgers, fries, and plenty of other movie-oriented snacks. The theater has been operated by the same local family for about 45 years.

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PHOTO: FabSubeject(CC BY-SA 3.0)/WikimediaCommons
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Sunset Drive-In

WHERE: Colchester, Vermont

This drive-in movie theater in Colchester has managed a special feat—it’s open every single night. With four screens, concessions, a playground, and a mini-golf course, this place is fun for the whole family. Last month, they even showed a Metallica concert on their screens as a special event—perhaps to give the community a little reminder of what a “concert” even is.

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PHOTO: Electric Dusk Drive-In
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Electric Dusk Drive-In

WHERE: Los Angeles, California

Electric Dusk is the only drive-in movie theater in Los Angeles that shows new releases as well as classics from the ’70s through the ’00s. Not only are the movies good—so is the view. Behind the screens, you’ll see a backdrop of the lovely Los Angeles skyline. Masks are required when not inside of your vehicle, and port-o-potties are on the premises and are regularly cleaned and sanitized by employees for your safety. There’s no walk-up concession stand, but they accept pre-orders for prepackaged snacks like candy and popcorn—you can bring your own food, as well, but no alcoholic beverages are allowed.

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PHOTO: Coyote Drive In/Facebook
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Coyote Drive-In

WHERE: Fort Worth, Texas

Coyote Drive-In is easily one of the most well-known and popular drive-in movie theaters in Texas, and for good reason. They’ve got a beer garden that covers a whole acre and a huge playground for children to climb all over. Plus, you can order concessions straight from your phone (a huge perk), using their app. Everyone over the age of 10 is required to wear a mask. But seriously, for a movie theater, their alcohol menu is extensive. Be sure to have a designated driver!

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PHOTO: Delsea Drive In Theatre/Facebook
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Delsea Drive-In Theatre

WHERE: Vineland, New Jersey

Delsea is the only drive-in movie theater in New Jersey. The theater was built in 1949, then closed in 1987, only to reopen again in 2004. Easily accessible to cities around it, Delsea is about an hour away from Delaware, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. They offer a snack menu that can be ordered straight from your phone, and pride themselves on offering “healthier” options than usual movie theaters. The theater has a ton of safety rules regarding COVID-19 operating procedures, which are all listed on their website.

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PHOTO: Silver Moon Drive In Theatre/Facebook
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Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre

WHERE: Lakeland, Florida

Silver Moon Drive-In is a whimsical treat, through and through. Opened in 1948, it was the first drive-in to hit Lakeland. There’s a full snack bar, and on weekends, it’s transformed into a “swap shop” (which, unlike many drive-ins, is still open during COVID-19 times). The concession stand offers plenty of snacks and is nostalgically decorated. There are two screens showing double features every single day of the week (usually one screen is a family-oriented movie

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PHOTO: 99W Drive In/Facebook
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99W Drive-In

WHERE: Newberg, Oregon

Although closed for the season (until Spring 2021), 99W can’t be left off this list, simply because seeing a movie at this classic, old school drive-in theater surrounded by gorgeous Pacific Northwestern scenery is…a whole mood. Located only an hour out of Portland, it’s easily accessible to the city, and worth the drive, regardless. See you in Spring 2021, 99W—we can’t wait to watch movies surrounded by trees.

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PHOTO: Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre/Facebook
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Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre

WHERE: Oreville, Pennsylvania

Shankweiler’s has been open since 1934, making it the oldest drive-in movie theater in the country—so you know it’s going to be an experience. It was the second drive-in theater to open in America (the first one being in New Jersey, in 1933, that has since closed). They are currently only open on the weekends, but typically are open every night of the week from June through Labor Day (during a regular year where there isn’t a pandemic).

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PHOTO: Cindy McKinney
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Admiral Twin Drive-In Theatre

WHERE: Tulsa, Oklahoma

One of the greatest things about this drive-in theater—and something that sets it apart from the rest—is their full food menu. That, plus its nine-story-tall movie screens, of course. They are open only on weekends for the 2020 season, and no outside food or drink is permitted—but you won’t want to miss their food menu, anyway. It’s that good. Plus, you can feel good knowing that you are supporting a local business. Enjoy the film!

2 Comments
J
jenellthomas September 12, 2020

You forgot Cherry Bowl in Honor, MI. 

Avatar for SamanthaClarkson
SamanthaClarkson September 12, 2020

nice !!