Frequently Asked Questions about Drive-in Theaters

The Internet's Oldest Drive-In Movie Resource

FAQs about Drive-ins

Can I take my dog to the drive-in?
It depends. In the past, most drive-ins allowed dogs. Now for liability reasons, there are a good number of drive-ins that prohibit pets because their liability insurance companies require it. However, there are still many drive-ins that allow dogs as long as they are leashed and as long as you pick up after their waste. Our database of drive-in theaters indicates if pets are allowed (when we know). But it is always best to call ahead if you are visiting a drive-in you are not familiar with.

Can I bring food and drinks to the drive-in?
Many drive-ins allow you to bring outside food and drinks and many do not. So check with your particular drive-in. But even if the drive-in does allow outside food and drink, you should leave it at home and patronize the concession stand. Drive-in theaters (like all theaters) have to pay up to 90% of the money they take in at the box office to the movie studios who makes the films. So drive-ins make very little money from your admission. They make their money at the concession stand so please support them by buying your food and drink there. Some drive-ins now prohibit outside food and drinks unless you purchase a food permit which generally run between $5 - $10.

What is a food permit and why is it needed?
A food permit is a charge that allows you to bring in outside food and drink. They generally run $5 - $10. The revenue from food permits helps drive-ins to offset the loss of revenue from the concession stand.

Is alcohol allowed at drive-ins?
Generally no. Almost all drive-ins prohibit bringing alcohol. There are a few drive-ins that sell alcohol at their concession areas but you are not allowed to take the alcohol back to your car and it must be consumed in the concession/bar area.

Can I sit outside at the drive-in?
Generally yes. There are a few drive-ins that require you to stay within your vehicle during the movie but this is certainly the exception.

How do I hear the movie at the drive-in?
Almost drive-in theaters have now converting to FM Radio to broadcast the audio for the movies shown. So if you plan to sit outside your vehicle, take a portable radio. Some drive-ins still use the traditional car stand speakers, but even those drive-ins generally still have the FM broadcast and just keep the speakers for nostalgia's sake.

Is going to the drive-in cheaper than an indoor theater?
Almost always yes. Most drive-ins show double features and some even show triple features for one price which is generally less than or the same as indoor theaters. So for one admission price, you get to see two first run movies. In addition, many drive-ins will charge by the carload which can bring the admission price down even more if you take a full vehicle of people.

When should I get to the drive-in?
Drive-ins start their first movie at dusk. So show times will vary throughout the year as the time of sunset varies. You should always try to arrive at least 30 minutes before show time in order to get parked, make a run to the concession stand, etc? However, during busy weekends at the peak of summer, you may have to arrive much early to even get in as many drive-in experience large crowds and turn people away when they reach capacity. It is not unusual to arrive one to two hours before show time on busy weekends.

Are there any special rules for parking?
Generally, you can park wherever there is an open spot. But be considerate and only take one parking space. Some drive-ins have special parking rules such as requiring large trucks and SUVs to park in the back row or on the sides. So drive-ins prohibit open hatches. But if you have any questions, just ask the attendant at the box office and he or she will be happy to help you.

If I go to a drive-in with multiple screens, can I switch screens between movies.
Generally, no. Almost all drive-ins prohibit switching screens either during movies or after one movie has ended. Different movies are different lengths and therefore end at different times. So even though the movie you are watching may have ended, other movies on a different screen may not be over. Drive-ins do not want you moving your car while movies are in process.

Do drive-ins accept credit cards and debit cards?
Some do, many do not. And others may accept credit cards at the concession area but not at the box office where you pay your admission to get in. So as a general rule, we suggest always taking plenty of cash when visiting a new drive-in theater.

Can I smoke at the drive-in since it is outside?
Depends. Most drive-ins still allow smoking as long as it does not interfere with others. But there are some that do not allow smoking, even in your own vehicle. So know the rules.

Can I grill out at the drive-in?
This may seem like an odd question today, but in the past, most drive-ins allowed grilling. But today, almost all prohibit grilling or any open flames. But there are still a few that do allow this but these are mainly drive-ins that also allow camping. So plan on no.

Do I have to stay to watch both movies of a double feature?
No. You can always leave whenever you want.

Do drive-ins close if there is going to be rain or bad weather?
No. Almost all drive-ins remain open (if they are normally scheduled to be open) during rain, storms and other bad weather.

What if my car battery dies while I am at the drive-in?
Unless you have a bad battery, that should not happen. But to prevent it from happening, put your car in Accessory mode if using your car radio to listen to the movie. And start your car once during the movie for a few minutes to charge the battery. If the rare case that your battery does die, go to the concession area and notify the staff. Almost all drive-ins have the equipment to jump start your car which they will do when the movie is over.

How do I turn off the daytime running lights on my vehicle which stay on when I have it in accessory mode?
Every vehicle is different. Please consult your vehicle's owner manual before arriving at the drive-in.

I want to leave the hatchback of my SUV open during the movie. How do I turn the interior dome light off?
Every vehicle is different. Please consult your vehicle's owner manual before arriving at the drive-in.

What months are drive-ins open?
It depends on where the drive-in is located. There are drive-ins in warm weather areas such as Southern California, Texas and Florida that are open year round, 365 days a year. Most drive-ins in other states generally open sometime between May and October but some open earlier and close a little later.

FAQs about this Website

Where do you get the data for your drive-in theater directory? maintains it own drive-in theater database. All the data in the database is gathered by our employees through research on the internet, discussions with drive-in theater owners, site visits and user recommended edits. Since all of our data is independently gathered, you may notice slight differences in the information we present versus other websites. We like to think our data is more accurate since everything is verified before we post it. However, drive-ins change their prices, hours or admission, dates of operation, etc... constantly. So it is always best to verify any information contained here about specific drive-ins with the drive-in itself.

How long has been around?
We believe that is the oldest online directory of drive-in theaters on the internet. The website was first started in 1998 and therefore will be celebrating its 20 year anniversary in 2018!

Why did you start and continue to maintain is owned and operated by true drive-in movie enthusiasts. We love visiting different drive-ins and wanted to share this passion with others by providing an online resource which allows users to learn about drive-ins and search for drive-ins based on different factors such as location, size, features, age, etc...

If I see incorrect information on a drive-in theater or know of a drive-in that is not listed on your website, how can I let you know?
As mentioned, we rely on our users to help us keep our database as up to date as possible. If you know of a drive-in we have not included in our database, or if you see incorrect information on a drive-in theater, please email us using the Contact Us link below to let us know. Also, on each drive-in theater profile page, there is an 'Suggest Edit' button you can use to email us with updated information about a specific drive-in theater.

Why do you show information about closed drive-ins?
Once we input a drive-in into our database, we leave that information even if the drive-in ceases to operate. Our primary purpose is to help people discover the joy of visiting drive-in theaters and help them locate drive-ins near them. However, we also like to preserve the history of different drive-ins for those who wish to stroll down memory lane or research drive-ins that have operated in their area.

Related to above, why do you only show closed drive-ins that have closed within the last 20 years instead of showing all drive-ins that have ever operated?
Simple, we start the website twenty years ago and that is when we started compiling our database. As mentioned, our primary purpose is to rekindle interest in existing drive-in theaters?not to document historical operations of all drive-ins.