9 Nostalgic Drive-In Movie Theaters Across the U.S.

by  Teresa Bitler | Aug 19, 2013
Drive in theater
Drive in theater / smodj/iStock

In their heyday, drive-in movies were the thing to do on a warm summer night. While sitting in a movie theater, rather than reclining in your SUV or compact car, is now the norm, many drive-in theaters are still operational. If you're craving a taste of the past, with a throwback price tag to match ($7 for a double feature), you'll want to check out these nine nostalgic theaters.

Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre, Pennsylvania: Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. opened the first drive-in in New Jersey in 1933; Wilson Shankweiler opened the second a year later in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Now, the oldest drive-in in America, Shankweiler’s, shows double features seven nights a week in June, July, August and through Labor Day. $9 adults/$5 kids

Saco Drive-In, Maine: Located in Saco, Maine, the Saco Drive-In screened its first movie in July 1939, making it the second oldest drive-in in existence today, behind Shankweiler’s. Admission is $15 per car, making it a deal for families.

Weirs Drive-In Theater, New Hampshire"Let the popcorn fly" is the motto for this four-screen New Hampshire theater located on Weirs Beach at Lake Winnipesaukee. The box office opens early, giving you plenty of time to park and walk down to the beach. Nearby attractions, like the Weirs Beach Waterslides and Volcano Mini Golf, add to the festive atmosphere. $20/car

Ford Drive-In, Michigan: Since cars and drive-ins go hand-in-hand, it only makes sense that the world’s largest drive-in is located just outside of Motor City in Dearborn, Michigan. The Ford Drive-In features five screens, showing two-for-the-price-of-one movies. $8.95 adults/$3.50 kids

Vineland Drive-In Movie Theater, California: A big bonus for California residents and visitors? Southern California's drive-ins generally stay open year-round. Vineland Drive-In Movie Theater shows first-run films on four screens in Hollywood and LA's backyard: the City of Industry. As a bonus for avid movie-watchers, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, the first film of the double feature is replayed after the second film for free. $9 adults/$3 kids

Bengie’s Drive-In Theatre, MarylandBengie’s has the largest drive-in movie theater screen in the United States. Standing at 52 feet high and 120 feet wide, the films shown at this Baltimore, Maryland venue are uncropped (apparently, it's not uncommon for theaters to cut off portions of the top, side, or bottom of pictures to make them fit their screen dimensions), so you get as close to the in-theater experience, right from your car. $5–$9 general admission/$4 kids

Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, IllinoisIf you're all about reducing your carbon footprint, this theater is a must-visit. After struggling with low attendance for years, owner Mike Harroun installed a wind turbine to help reduce electric costs in 2008. The southern Illinois theater also installed HD projectors this year, touting, "this is the closest you will ever get to an IMAX under the stars." $7 adults/$6 kids

The Star Drive-In, Colorado: The Star Drive-In in Monte Vista, Colorado has a little something extra – a hotel. At the Best Western Movie Manor on the property, you can see the films playing at The Star from the windows in the rooms. $7.50 adults/$5.50 seniors/free kids/$15 per car on Sundays

Silver Lake Drive-In Theatre, New York: This Perry, New York institution is more than just the Silver Lake Drive-In Theater: it’s a restaurant, a pizzeria, an ice cream parlor, an arcade, and a miniature golf course. Come early for dinner and family fun, then, enjoy the double features showing on the drive-in’s two screens. $7 adults/$3 kids

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