The mention of a trip to the drive-in movies might evoke memories of golden days gone by. While there may not be as many drive-ins as during their late 1950s peak, there are still 337 across the country, according to the U.S. Drive In Theatre Owners Association. All but five state have a drive-in, says the UDITOA, making them a entertaining family activity opportunity for most Americans. (Kudos to Pennsylvania, which boasts the highest number of any state, with more than 30.) Here are a few essentials to make your family’s drive-in outing a fun and memorable experience.
Though there are drive-in cinemas in most states, some areas feature more than others. According to Drive-Ins.com, every state boasts at least 1 drive-in theater except Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana and North Dakota. Plan ahead for your outing by finding the one nearest you. Drive-Ins.com features a searchable database containing the locations of all the nation’s drive-ins. Be sure to also research specific drive-ins’ schedules and pet policies. Some open only during weekends, and pet policies since various locations have different rules, says Drive-Ins.com. Arriving early to secure the best viewing location is also important.
Since drive-ins are community venues, it’s good to be mindful of others while visiting. That means avoiding honking, turning headlights on others, or intruding into others’ space on site, says Drive-Ins.com. Ensuring you don’t block anyone else’s view is always polite and appreciated.
Finally, Drive-Ins.com and Mission Tiki Drive-In encourage visitors to patronize their snack counters. Since most drive-ins make the majority of their money from concessions (and not the movie tickets), outside food and beverage are discouraged. Help keep the American drive-in tradition alive by purchasing tickets and snacks on-site.
A trip to the drive-in movies can be a terrific way to share some quality family time – especially on warmer summer nights. With a little preparation, you can enjoy the fun of watching the film stars on screen – while sitting under the stars in the sky. Happy viewing!