Long gone are the days of watching movies at a drive-in or listening to films via portable radio. Or are they? In a world of Netflix and multiplexes, the drive-in movie theater is a major piece of cinema history that thankfully didn't go the way of CinemaScope. Located on country fields or parking lots on the outskirts of cities, a slew of mostly family-owned theaters still exist.
Maybe it's the allure of the 1950s, when life wasn't filled with smart phones and social media, but folks are flocking back to drive-in theaters. What's the allure? Documentary filmmaker April Wright, working to complete "Going Attractions: The Rise and Fall of the American Drive-in Movie Theater," seeks to answer that question. She traveled to every state (except Alaska) to visit almost 500 open, abandoned, and former sites of drive-ins to make the film. "Drive-ins were originally a family experience, and today it's returned to that idea," Wright told AOL Travel. "Not to mention it's inexpensive."
From a Midwestern theater that's open year-round to a drive-in movie theater sitting on the outskirts of a major US city, these drive-ins are worth a visit and represent only a small portion of the many drive in theaters still in operation.
Bengies Drive-In, Baltimore
Open seasonally, this drive-in is just a short trip from downtown Baltimore. Open since 1956, Bengies has the biggest screen in the country, with up to three films shown a night on their one screen. Like most drive-ins, Bengies tries to show family films during the first screening of the night.
Ford Drive-In, Dearborn, Michigan
Also known as the Ford Wyoming, the five-screen theater has been open since the 1950s and continues to show first run flicks. Unlike most drive-in movie theaters, which operate on a seasonal basis, this drive-in is open year-round and it's located in the heart of the Midwest, known for extreme winters. During the winter, the theater only operates on weekends.
Shankweilers, Orefield, Pennsylvania
Open since 1934, Shankweilers is the oldest drive-in in America. Roughly an hour's drive from Philadelphia, the drive-in has one screen that shows double feature. Check out nearby Becky's Drive-In, which has 2 screens and also offers pony rides.
Corral Drive-In, Guymon, Oklahoma
This 200-car drive-in, closed in the 1980s, sat vacant until it was restored and reopened in 2009. Kids will love the arcade, playground and assortment of inflatable bouncers (including an 18 foot dump truck slide). For overnighters, the theater recently opened an adjacent RV park.
Warwick Drive-In, Warwick, NY
Located only ninety minutes from New York City, Warwick is known more for its apple orchards and charming main street. But the town also offers a three-screen, double-feature drive-in that was opened in 1950. The theater is open seasonally from March through October.
Wellfleet Drive-In, Wellfleet, Massachusetts
The only drive-in on Cape Cod, the theater is consistently filled with visitors all summer. Built in 1957, the theater runs double features of first run films on their one screen. The drive-in has an ice cream parlor, a mini-golf course and playground (it also doubles as a flea market on select days).
Delsea, Vineland, New Jersey
Even though the state was home to the first drive-in, the Delsea, built in the 1940s, is New Jersey's sole reminder of times gone by. In 2003, it was restored and now has two screens that show current films seasonally. The Delsea also offers something others don't: a snackbar with an extensive menu of Atkins-friendly choices.