The Best Drive-in Theaters in the US

High-tech movie theaters are all the rage, but it's hard to beat an old school drive-in experience.

Bengies Drive In Theatre, Middle River, Maryland
Photo: PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Luxury movie theaters are the new trend across the country, offering padded and reclining seats, gourmet food and drinks, and even interactive elements like shaking seats and spraying water. But there is still an old-school way to see a movie: the drive-in theater.

In grassy fields and paved lots across the country, you can pull up your car in front of a screen and take in a film or two (or three).

Some drive-ins stick to the classic model: Park your car and listen to the movie audio over your car radio. Others offer lawn chairs and patios for viewers to take in a film en plein air. Some even provide tables at the concession stand so you can do dinner and a show. (One very special showing includes inner tubes for a unique experience unto itself.)

From the classic to the more unusual, here are some of the best drive-in movie theaters across the country.

01 of 13

Coyote Drive-In, Fort Worth, Texas

Coyote Drive-In Ft Worth
Raul Rodriguez

Open seven days a week, the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth has four screens and a concession stand that sells beer and wine. They don't allow outside food and drink, but you are welcome to bring your pets.

02 of 13

Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre, Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Wellfeet Drive In Theater Cape Cod
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

This classic theater on Cape Cod also has miniature golf, a dairy bar with soft serve and hard ice cream, and a flea market during the day. The last of its kind on the Cape, this theater has been around since 1957.

03 of 13

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Austin, Texas

Alamo Drafthouse
Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse provides a very special screening of the classic thriller "Jaws" where you watch from an inner tube on Lake Travis. This annual tradition is a novel way to rewatch this iconic film and luckily, drinks are served to calm your nerves.

04 of 13

Delsea Drive-In Theatre, Vineland, New Jersey

Delsea Drive-In
Courtesy of Delsea Drive-In Theatre

This South Jersey theater's food menu goes far beyond candy and popcorn. It has an entire gluten-free menu, Atkins items, and menu options such as chicken cheesesteaks with a side of pierogies or edamame.

05 of 13

South Bay Drive In Theatre, Imperial Beach, California

South Bay Drive-In Imperial Beach California
Courtesy of South Bay Drive In

You can smell the ocean breeze from this spot near the beach of Border Field State Park, just six miles north of the borderline between San Diego and Tijuana. The theater has three screens, giving you more double features to choose from.

06 of 13

Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater, Liberty Center, Ohio

Field of Dreams Drive In
Courtesy of Field of Dreams, Liberty Center

Built in the owners' back yard, this theater takes "if you build it, they will come" literally. On-site yard games like putt-putt, cornhole, and volleyball are free to play.

07 of 13

Fairlee Motel and Drive-In Theater, Fairlee, Vermont

Fairlee Motel and Drive-In Theater Vermont
Trevor Paulhus

One of the few motel-movie-drive-in combos left in the United States, you can book a room and catch a show at this theater. Many guests make the trip especially for the drive-in experience, so it's recommended to book your stay in advance.

08 of 13

Harvest Moon Drive-In, Gibson City, Illinois

Harvest Moon Drive In
Courtesy of Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In

The Harvest Moon Drive-In is the first and likely the only drive-in theater to be powered by wind turbines. It also takes other environmentally-friendly measures, including using LED lighting and recycled materials.

09 of 13

Mesa Drive-In, Pueblo, Colorado

Mesa Drive In, Pueblo Colorado
Courtesy of Mesa Drive-In

Take in a film or two with a beautiful Colorado backdrop. This theater has two screens and a call-ahead menu so you can order food in advance.

10 of 13

Malco Theatres, Memphis, Tennessee

Malco Summer Drive-In Memphis
Courtesy of Malco Summer Drive-In

Part of a drive-in movie theater chain that has been family-owned for more than 100 years, this classic theater maintains its retro feel. There are also locations in five other states: Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, and Louisiana.

11 of 13

Bengies Drive-In Theatre, Middle River, Maryland

Bengies Drive In Theatre, Middle River, Maryland

This theater boasts that it has the largest drive-in screen in the country, measuring 52 by 120 feet. That means films aren't cropped or cut in their displays.

12 of 13

66 Drive-In Theatre, Carthage, Missouri

Route 66 Drive In Carthage Missouri
Mark Williamson/Getty Images

Located along the historic Route 66, this theater doesn't allow moviegoers to bring in their own food or drink, but promises the show will go on — rain or shine. Children under 5 get in for free.

13 of 13

Hull's Drive-In, Lexington, Virginia

Hull's Drive-In Lexington Virginia
Visions of America, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo

One of the only nonprofit theaters in the country, this classic drive-in is run by Hull's Angels, which is a group dedicated to preserving the historic theater. Volunteers are welcome to apply.

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