The drive-in movie theater is a nostalgic and beloved piece of American culture that reached its peak popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. While many drive-ins have since closed down, the recent pandemic has led to a resurgence in their popularity as people seek out safe and socially-distanced entertainment options. In this blog, we’ll explore the history of drive-in movie theaters, their recent resurgence, and some of the best ones to visit in the United States.
Drive-ins are also a great stop on a roadtrip. You can pull into the theater in your vehicle with your whole family. Many families are utilizing campervans like Vandoit adventure vans. What is great is these units fit into a normal parking space.
A Brief History Of Drive-in Movie Theaters
Drive-in movie theaters first appeared in the early 20th century, but they didn’t become popular until the 1950s and 1960s. At their peak, there were over 4,000 drive-ins across the United States. However, the rise of indoor multiplex theaters and the decline of the American automobile industry led to the closure of many drive-ins. By the early 2000s, there were only a few hundred drive-ins left in the country.
The Resurgence Of Drive-in Movie Theaters
In recent years, drive-in movie theaters have seen a resurgence in popularity. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in this resurgence, as people seek out safe and socially-distanced entertainment options. In addition, the rise of streaming services like Netflix has led to a decline in traditional movie theater attendance, making drive-ins a viable alternative.
Some Of The Best Drive-in Movie Theaters In The United States
Bengies Drive-In Theatre – Middle River, Maryland
Bengies Drive-In Theatre is one of the largest drive-ins in the country, with a 52-foot-tall screen and space for over 700 cars. They also have a large concession stand that serves a variety of food and drinks.
Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre – Orefield, Pennsylvania
Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre is the oldest drive-in movie theater in America, having opened in 1934. They have a 40-foot-tall screen and a capacity for over 300 cars. They also have a classic snack bar with traditional movie theater fare.
The Big Sky Drive-In Theatre – Midland, Texas
The Big Sky Drive-In Theatre is located in the heart of West Texas and features a large 90-foot-tall screen. They have a capacity for over 400 cars and offer a variety of food and drink options.
The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre – Honor, Michigan
The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre has been operating since 1953 and features a 60-foot-tall screen. They have a capacity for over 300 cars and offer a variety of food and drink options.
The Blue Starlite Drive-In Theatre – Austin, Texas
The Blue Starlite Drive-In Theatre is a smaller drive-in with a more intimate atmosphere. They have a capacity for around 50 cars and offer a variety of food and drink options, including craft beer and wine.
Drive-in movie theaters may have been a thing of the past, but they are making a comeback in the United States. With their unique atmosphere and socially-distanced entertainment, drive-ins are a great option for movie-goers looking for something different. So why not grab some popcorn, hop in your car, and head to one of the best drive-ins in the country for a night of movie magic under the stars.