More than 4,000 drive-in theaters once dotted the rural fields and city lots of this country, but today there are just few more than 300.
But like the 300 Spartans, these drive-in theaters are putting up one heck of a fight for their sacred spots of land. During the summer (and sometimes year-round), these faithful drive-ins light up the screens so we can enjoy movies in our cars or under the stars, just as we have for the past 50+ years.
Of the 300 or so drive-ins, here are 10 Roadtrippers.com favorites:
Coyote Drive-In, Fort Worth, Texas
The entrance may look retro, but the Coyote is actually a new drive-in theater. It’s got great local food, plenty of booze and even hitching posts if you’re coming from the Ft. Worth stockyards. In Fort Worth, the drive-in theater is the hip place for young people once again.
Mansfield Drive-In, Mansfield, Connecticut
Out in the sticks sits the Mansfield Drive-In. Open since 1954, the place used to run some dirty movies in the fall to keep money coming past the summer season. Today the mood is less triple-X, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. The drive-in also features a flea market during the day.
Delsea Drive-In, Vineland, New Jersey
Built in 1949, closed in 1987, and reopened in 2004, the Delsea Drive-In is the only drive-in in the entire state of New Jersey. It prides itself in healthier food options.
Harvest Moon Drive-IN, Gibson City, Illinois
The Harvest Moon is where old-school meets new school. Even their sign is one part old neon, one part modern digital. They also have a wind-powered electrical system. The big event coming this summer? Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers on June 19.
Bengies Drive-In, Baltimore, Maryland
There are three things that make Bengies awesome: Its 50s style snack bar, its ridiculously large screen and its fantastic retro road sign. What’s not to love about Bengies?
66 Drive-In, Carthage, Missouri
Does it get any more retro American than a drive-in on Route 66 with a beautiful neon sign? We didn’t think so either. It’s an old-fashioned kind of place with plenty of room for tossing a football before the big feature show.
Capri Drive-In, Coldwater, Michigan
Once on the main route between Chicago and Detroit, the Capri still draws a crowd of travelers and locals alike with excellently maintained facilities and one of the largest screen towers still in use. The classic 50s vibe is still alive and well at the Capri.
Becky’s Drive-In, Walnutport, Pennsylvania
The movies aren’t the only attraction at this rural outdoor theater… Arrive early with the kids for pony rides or swing by during one of the many events such as car shows, haunted hayrides, and more at this local hang-out.
Starlight Six Drive-In, Atlanta, Georgia
With six screens and a hilltop parking lot this drive-in isn’t just about the movies, it’s about the tailgating! Bring your grill, corn hole sets, and coolers for a drive-in experience like no other. We suggest hitting the place up over Labor Day weekend when they have live music, a car show and crappy B-movies.
Ford Drive-In, Dearborn, Michigan
Seems fitting the world’s largest drive-in would be just outside Motor City. Ford Drive-In boasts a 3,000 car capacity and retains some of that vintage cool you’d hope for at a Detroit area drive-in.
To see more photos of these drive-ins, visit Roadtrippers.com.