I remember the first time I saw a drive-in movie theater. We were on a family road trip in northern Minnesota and my mom nonchalantly motioned to it as we drove by. My 8-yr-old self was captivated by the idea of rolling up in your car to watch a movie and purchasing popcorn and soda from the vendors who walked between the cars. Even as an adult, the idea of going to a drive-in movie seems much more exciting than sitting in a regular old theater. In fact, I actively seek out drive-in movies when we go on road trips.
If you’re a drive-in movie fan like me, then you should know about June 6th, also known as Drive-In Movie Day. It commemorates the opening of the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey in 1933. With the resurgence of midcentury culture and aesthetics, drive-in movie theaters have made a major comeback over the past decade (there are around 400 in the U.S.). Here are five drive-in movie theaters across the U.S. where you can celebrate this slice of American history and take in a great flick on Saturday.
66 Drive-In (Carthage, Missouri)
17231 Old 66 Boulevard
Carthage, MO 64836
Located along what was once the iconic Route 66, 66 Drive-In was restored a little over a decade ago and has enjoyed great success. Show times and films can be found on the website. There’s a nearby playground and Frisbee/kickball field if the kids need to burn off a bit of energy before the move starts.
Becky’s Drive-In (Walnutport, Pennsylvania)
4548 Lehigh Drive
Walnutport, PA 18088
A classic drive-in located in a field outside of town, Becky’s is known for its fun, casual vibe, state-of-the-art sound system, and delicious concessions. Bonus: they also have pony rides for the wee ones.
Skyline Drive-In (Barstow, California)
1503 E. Main Street
Barstow, CA 92311
Another drive-in with a Route 66 connection (Main Street used to be part of Route 66), Skyline is a retro gem. It’s open year-round, catering to both locals and tourists.
The iconic Mesa Drive-In has been in business since 1951. The projectors were recently replaced and are state-of-the-art. It’s best to come hungry – the “Mesa Menu” boasts classic concessions like popcorn and corndogs, as well as local treats like nachos and burritos.
Capri Drive-In (Coldwater, Michigan)
119 West Chicago Road
Coldwater, MI 49036
This family-run drive-in has been in business for over fifty years. Located between Detroit and Chicago, the Capri has become a destination in and of itself, and partners with local motels to offer discounted movie/lodging packages.