Drive-In Theaters: Yes, They Still Exist!

Every morning I wake up and take my dogs for a walk first thing in the morning. For the last six months, I have been piling on socks, jackets, hats, and hoodies while I prepare myself mentally for that bone-chilling winter sting that I’ll face when I open the door. A few weeks ago, I noticed buds popping up on trees, patches of vibrant green grass, and tiny flowers poking out of the dirt. My mind immediately turned from the brown, dead wasteland that was in front of me to the vibrant green haven that I knew would be there soon. I started thinking about hiking, beach trips, concerts, and all the usual summer fare. Then I had a flashback to a particularly fond summer memory: visiting the local drive-in movie theater in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A Blast From the Past

When I first found that place, I thought I came across a relic. Who knew there were still drive-in theaters around? I might as well have discovered a speakeasy. It was the first and only drive-in theater that I ever saw and coming across it was delightful. On a good night, I would throw a bunch of blankets in the back of my pick up and take in a show. I could talk through the show without feeling guilty. If I wanted to, I could look at incoming texts and emails. I could even bring any food I wanted with me, from a bag of candy to a roasted chicken, and there would be no 16-year-old ticket taker to tell me that it wasn’t allowed. It was fantastic. However, that hidden gem is becoming more and more rare.

A Brief History

The first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey in 1933. Unfortunately, it was ahead of its time, because it closed just two years later. The second drive in was opened in Orefield, PA in 1934 and managed to do a lot better, as it is still open today. In their hay day during the ’50s and ’60s, over 4,000 drive-ins were operating across the country, but today, there are just 330 left. By the ’70s, compact cars began to gain popularity as a way to combat rising oil prices. The smaller cars saved on gas, but it also made sitting in your car during a movie a bit uncomfortable. They also require about 15 acres of land to operate, which makes them less cost-effective. Many past owners found there was more money to be made by selling their businesses to developers than to continue running their drive-ins. Although most drive-ins save money on speakers by projecting sound through FM radio broadcasts, digital projectors average around $60,000 per screen. Between that and the land costs, it is difficult for small business owners to open up new drive-ins, so their numbers have dwindled.

Your Best Shot

If you are in the Northeast, then you might be in luck. New York has the most drive-ins of any state with 30, and Pennsylvania comes in second with 27. Ohio rounds out the top 3 with 24. After that, rubbing your lucky coin might be your best chance of finding one. For a complete list of operating drive-ins, visit

Drive-in theaters are a lot of fun. But so are baseball games, beach trips, fishing trips, and anything else you love to do in spring. Whatever it is, Good2Go Auto Insurance can get you there legally, so visit for a free, no-obligation quote today!

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