Tips to best enjoy the Drive in theatre

The drive-in, if you are lucky to be near one, is a great place for family fun! Good old fashioned family fun!

Sadly many have closed up over the years, but there are still many around. Just do a Google search and see if there is one near you. We love going to them as  I personally have very fond memories of my childhood from them.

They are affordable and family friendly.

You can bring your own snacks, your pets and your crying baby with you. No worries about disturbing others while enjoying the movie either. You are sitting in your own car with the capability of rolling up the windows whenever needed. Not yet with a family? No worries, it is still a great place to bring a date too!

As affordable as the drive-in is, I like to go on carload nights to save big time. These nights are often slower and during the week. But you can get the entire car in for one low price. Usually, on most nights you can see 2 movies but sometimes they have 3 or 4 playing a night. This is usually on long weekends I find. Many allow you to leave one screen for the other between shows too (so double check) I find usually the first movie is family friendly and the second is more adult. Be prepared to leave if you are not comfortable with this and young younger children fight the sleep urge.

To help you get the most out of your next drive in movie visit I have created these tips for you


Tips to best enjoy the Drive in theatre

Come early

Often larger vehicles will have the back rows of the field to not obstruct the view of cars and smaller vehicles. I like to be a few rows back in the centre of the screen. I also like to grab a spot with a picnic table if possible. So we go early to get the best for us spot possible for us. No worries about the kids getting bored either. There is a playground, lots of room to play catch and usually some fun trailers ahead of the movie.

Going early will allow you to check out the snack bar, bathroom locations and get your radio tuned into the right channel. Lots of time to work out any bugs you may not know about with your car during this time too.

BYOS- Bring your own snacks

Drive-ins are pretty laid back when it comes to snacking. Easy to bring your own treats with you since you are in your car. Be sure to check for promos ahead of time as pop and popcorn are often .25 cent refills. Bringing your own snacks is great if you are looking for healthier options or a more affordable night out. We often grab some chips and licorice ahead of time then buy drinks and popcorn there.

Make yourself at home

Bring lawn chairs to sit outside the car. Make sure you have blankets, pillows etc to stay comfortable during the movies. If you have little kids bring what they need to sleep, many wear their PJs and fall asleep after the first movie.

Check for promo nights

Often on long weekends there will be an extra movie playing for the same price. Many drive-ins have a carload special night where you pay per car load. If you have a big family like mine, this is a great way to save even more. Compared to the movie theatres the drive in is already affordable, but lets save more. You can check their listings in the paper, online or call ahead to find out about promotions and cheap nights near you.

Know your car ahead of time

Nothing is worse than the movie starting and some fool has their headlights pointed at the screen bright and blocking the movie. I have made the mistake of being that fool too in the early days. Often you just need to step on the emergency brake to turn off the running lights. But sometimes it is a little more difficult. Check out your car or truck ahead of time for features that may be a bit tricky. You may need to check your owners manual to be safe.

Other things I have found handy are bringing paper towel and Windex to clean off the windshield. Some grounds offer this cleaning service for a few dollars.

Bring a bag for garbage and maybe some extra TP. You just never know what you may be needing while there. Best to be prepared since you have extra room anyway.

Have some patience as people are there to enjoy themselves but the Drive-in is still new to many. It may take them a few tries to park in a spot, turn off their lights or adjust their talking volume. For the most party I find it pretty private and we love it! Any issues with rowdy patrons, drinkers or just plain rude people, you can go into snack bar and they will send someone out to take care of the situation.

Most of all just have fun!

Have you been to a drive in lately? Do you have any tips to add?



  1. lyndac1968 says

    I miss the drive-in, I haven't been since I was little and we still had to put the speaker on the window, but it was so much better than sitting in the theater, your out in the open and you can take lawn chairs, blankets and of course your own treats!!

  2. I wish there was a drive in here in calgary as there were so much fun as a kid!

  3. I have never been to a drive-in theatre, but it seems so fun and cool.

  4. hmrcarlson says

    We have a Drive-In about 20 minutes away that I am definitely keen to try out now! Thanks for the tips!

  5. jackieeman says

    Thanks for the tips! I love the options of bringing our own snacks 🙂 haha when I read it first I thought it was BYOB 😉

  6. the drive-in is a lot of fun – we try to get the kids out to the nearest one once a summer. Sadly they won't be around much longer

  7. This has to be a bucket list item for me – go to a Drive-In before they're completely gone in the province

  8. mommakoala says

    I love the drive in. I bring my own snacks, but you have to be discreet, because they monitor it.

  9. Be sure to bring small empty grocery bags, so that dirty diapers can be "sealed off" before being put into your larger trash bag. Also, a container of pop-up baby wipes cleans not only baby but everyone's hands when they
    get dirty or sticky. We always took cans of soda in a cooler, straws, paper plates & napkins, fruit & cookies, plus a large pizza in its own box. The pizza was already cut up into small squares, so it was easy to serve everyone. The baby had her own jars of baby food (bring a spoon!), plus bottles. A roll of paper towels always came in handy (like for a paper baby bib, or to soak up a spilled soda). Even in summer, sweaters or sweatshirts or jackets are often needed as it gets cooler after dark, whether the kids are inside or playing outside of the car, too.

  10. Great tips and we do all of them! We only have a drive in in our small city. It use to have terrible sound and picture but new owners took over this year and it is fabulous. In fact I do believe we are going to a show there tonight. Love it!

  11. apopofred says

    I haven't been to a drive-in in soooo long! This makes me want to go so badly. My friends and I used to take a pick-up truck and put an inflatable mattress in the bed of the truck to lie on for the movies! It was the best idea we ever had.
    My recent post Banana Nut Oatmeal – Just like instant!


  1. […] theatre but if you do, it’s a great evening activity for the entire family. Check out these tips from Tales of a Ranting Ginger for getting the most out of your trip to the drive in. Also check your local event listings as many cities set up drive in theatres just for the summer […]

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