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Movie night is a common occurrence at my house, especially when we get our Disney Movie Club movies. We all get snuggled up on the couch and binge on popcorn and snacks to the newest DVD. During the summer though some of the nights are way too beautiful to be spent inside in front of the tv, we still love to have that family movie time. Recently we’ve started hitting up the Milford drive-in, and it has become a summer must for our family. I wanted to let you in on our drive-in movie tips to make your next (or first) drive-in experience a home run for family movie night.
To find a drive-in movie theater near you, click here!
Tip 1: The setup
You’ll need to decide how exactly you want to watch the movie. We have a pick-up truck, so our favorite way to view the big outdoor screen is backing up the truck, loading up the bed with pillows and blankets (or even an air mattress) and watching like that. If you don’t have a pick-up truck or even a hatchback (because you could do the same with those), you could set up camp in front of your vehicle with a blanket or foldout chairs like you’d use for camping or kids endless sports practices.
Drive-In Movie Tip 2: Save your car battery
Before you head out to the drive-in movie theater, you need to consider your car battery. This was something that made me nervous because my truck can be a little weird with the battery, and it’s a pain in the ass sometimes. It’s good practice to make sure you have jumper cables or a HALO battery. The Halo has been a serious lifesaver plus I’ve been able to help other drivers with my jumper cables.
Most movies don’t start until 9:30 – 10 pm in the summer so making sure you have light in your car when you are looking for your snacks or for those bathroom breaks that can’t wait is so important. I recommend picking up a solar-powered lantern (we have this and it’s seriously so good and portable) or one that runs on batteries. These are also good to have anyway just in case the power goes out and they are excellent for camping, so YAY multi uses.
You’ll need a way to listen to the movie, too. Gone are the days where you pay for your admission and get handed a radio for the car. You’ll need to supply your own. You could, of course, use your car radio, but if you do like we do and sit in the bed of your pick up truck, you’ll need one of these.
Tip 3: Dress for drive-in movie success
It’s summertime. The days are hot, and the nights can be cool. Make sure your night doesn’t end in an endless chorus of “I’m cold” by dressing in layers or at least packing the sweatshirts and maybe some sweatpants. We love the double features, which means we aren’t leaving until 1 – 1:30 am so dressing in our pajama’s takes a huge load off. We don’t have to struggle with the boy to get changed after a long night.
Another one of my drive-in movie tips is to grab some glow sticks. It gets dark and having your child wear a glowing bracelet puts the mind at ease, especially if they are older and can go to the bathroom alone. It’s easy to keep an eye open for them. Designate a color for your family.
Most drive-in movie theaters are in or near wooded areas. This means bugs and lots of them. Don’t forget to pack the bug spray that is unless you enjoy swatting bugs all night!
Tip 4: The perfect spot
Get. There. Early. Trust me on this. Drive-in movies may seem like a thing of the past, but they are thriving! For our first drive-in, we got there an hour before showtime, and the first few rows were already filled. We park near the concession stand/bathrooms, so it didn’t matter (my son makes about a billion bathroom trips so that location is vital for us). I will say though that the way the drive-in movies in Milford, NH are positioned there really isn’t any “bad” spots.
Since you are getting there early, don’t forget to pack some fun family games to play. We like Uno and other board games like that. Many even come in travel sizes. The Milford Drive-In also has a playground for kids to play on while waiting for the movie to start. It’s possible yours will, too.
Tip 5: The food
Because you’ll be in your car, you can bring your own snacks and even dinner. Most, if not all theaters do not allow reentry or food delivery. Make sure to grab all your movie essentials before you get there! The Milford drive-in theater we go to has a pretty awesome concession stand too that we love to stop at. If this is something you think you want to do, make sure to check if your theater is cash only.
Since you should be getting there early, why not bring a late dinner to eat before the show starts? Some great options are pizza, hoagies, burritos, or even some fast food drive-thru.
Stop at the grocery store beforehand and grab some candy! You can get “movie theater” candy for a dollar at the Dollar store or Walmart. Popping your own popcorn and bringing it in bags is also another great way to skip the concession stand line.
Use these five tips for your next drive-in movie night, and you and your family will be hooked! Got a tip you think we should know about? Leave us a comment below because I’d love to know what makes your drive-in nights the best!
If you are in an of the New England states and are looking for free summer activities to fill in your summer vacation schedule, make sure to head here for my top list of free summer activities for your family!