Photo of drive-in movie theater at sunset with words "Jay's faves the drive-in"

Why going to the drive-in makes for an excellent summer night out

So I’m a movie guy. I mean I really love going to the movies!! to me, there is nothing like sitting in a theater and watching an action movie on the big screen. No home entertainment center can compare. Nope! Nothing like the theater…unless it’s the drive-in!

A night at the drive-in with family and friends will create fond memories you’ll cherish for years to come.

The people closest to me know that during many a summer night I can be found at our local drive-in, The Transit Drive-In. So what makes the drive-in so special? Glad you asked. Let’s take a look at this wonderful American tradition.

The Transit Drive-In is a Jay’s Faves. (Photo courtesy of


Let’s face it, there is something strongly Americana about the drive-in. Us Americans love our cars and we love our movies, so it was only a matter of time before these two things were brilliantly joined together. Sitting in your car under the stars and watching a movie with the kids in their PJs, or perhaps with your date by your side; well that’s about as American as hotdogs on the Fourth of July.

photo of sunset at the drive-in.
The drive-in is truly an American tradition (Photo courtesy of

The first drive-in, Camden, opened in New Jersey on June 6, 1933 and the idea sure caught on. At its height in the late 1950s there were over 4,000 drive-ins in the U.S. Unfortunately, there are now only about 330 drive-ins left.

photo of first drive-in that opened in 1933.
First drive-in opened in 1933. (Photo courtesy of

Other than being engrained in our American culture, many of us, Scuba Jay included, had parents that took us to the drive-In. Some of my fondest memories are going to the drive-in with my parents or grandfather, having a bag of candy and my pillow and watching a movie under the stars until I drifted off, never making the double feature.

Bring a pillow and a blanket and get cozy for your movie under the stars.

And on the topic as nostalgia, many drive-ins offer a retro movie night. This is a great way to revisit your youth and bring the kids along for a new experience and memories.

Seeing an old movie like “Raiders of The Lost Ark” on retro movie night is definitely going to stir up some nostalgia.

Family Fun

The whole family will enjoy this summer activity, film rating approval of course. Most drive-ins have things like playgrounds or miniature golf courses to keep the kids entertained until it’s dark enough for the show to begin.

Drive-ins usually have some areas setup for the young and the young at heart.

You can also always find a spot to throw a ball around, or just hang out and talk before showtime. The kids will love being in their pajamas, snuggled up with their pillow or stuffed animal and watching a movie with the family. And everyone will want to take a trip to the concession stand!

The drive-in relies on its concession sales to help keep the lights on, so make sure to stop in.

Take a night, load the family into your vehicle and create memories and a new tradition that will last.

You Are Allowed To Bring Your Own Food

Stop at the local grocery store, load up on the snacks on your way to the show and don’t worry about hiding your goodies in your pockets, like at the regular movie theater (not that I’ve done that, but I’ve done that).

No need to hide those goodies when going to the drive-in.

Most drive-ins allow you to bring in food and drinks. We usually pick up a pizza to enjoy after we are settled in, but sometimes it is gone while we are waiting for the front gates to open!

Pizza is good anytime, but really good for the drive-in.

If you do bring your own food, just remember that there are few drive-ins left. Save some money to buy a few snacks at the concession stand and help make sure your local drive-in is around for your kids to bring their kids to someday.

Make sure to hit the concession stand and support your local drive-in.

For You Adults, Alcohol is Allowed

Now some theaters now sell adult beverages, but you are going to sure pay handsomely for them. At the drive-in, pack your cooler with your favorite beer, wine or mixer and enjoy a couple cocktails without paying an arm and a leg. Just take it easy as there usually are kids around and you want to make it home ok.

photo of Scuba Jay and wife with drinks at the drive-in
a cold drink goes nice with a movie on a summer night.

Great Date night

Trust me on this one, the drive-in makes for a great night out with your date. You might not see much of the movie, but hey, that’s what DVDs and streaming are for.

If bringing a date, better pack the lip balm. (Photo courtesy of

If you ever catch Scuba Jay out, ask me about the time I was in California in the late 80s and went back to the wrong car after intermission and accidentally surprised a couple of lovebirds…I often wonder if they ever went back to the drive-in!

Pets Welcome

For you animal lovers, pets are usually welcome, so don’t leave Fido behind as he will love the drive-in too.

Our four legged friends will also enjoy the drive-in. (Photo courtesy of

If you are bringing your pet, make sure it’s not disturbing others trying to enjoy the movie and clean up after your animal.

Some Cons

The only cons you’ll find here are perhaps being tired the next day, if you are going on a weekday, and maybe some mosquito bites. Also, make sure to start your car once in awhile so as to not drain the battery and be careful not to lock your keys in the car. I speak from experience.

Final Thoughts

If traveling has taught me anything, it is that I love America and there is nowhere else I’d rather call home. With so much always focused on what divides us, we tend to forget what makes this country special and great. Now I’m not saying that the drive-in will cure all the ills this world has to offer, but it sure is a nice place to forget about them for a little bit and come together with a bunch of other people for an evening of entertainment.

More Of Jay’s Faves

Check out the below, if interested in more of Jay’s Faves.

“How boring would the world be if everywhere and everyone were the same. Safe travels and good adventures.” Scuba Jay

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