Blast from the Past: Carolina Drive-In Movie Theaters

The Carolinas were once one of the top 10 drive-in venues in the United States, with over 200 operating outdoor cinemas. The number of drive-in theaters has declined since the 1950s, but if you think drive-in movies are a thing of the past, think again. You can still find an authentic drive-in experience for a blast from the past.


Badin Road Drive-In in Albemarle, North Carolina, was originally built in 1948, and was revamped in 1994. Today, the site features Wi-Fi, FM stereo audio, and even a playground for kids. Baden now offers two screens for one ticket with shows starting at sundown, triple features, games, and intermissions. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 11, and children 5 and under free, making this an affordable night out for the entire family. 


Hidden from the road by rows of pine trees, the Eden Drive-In in Eden, North Carolina offers double and sometimes triple features to its loyal local following. This outdoor theater has been updated in the last few years with a larger restroom building, a sizable deck with tables and chairs and a fun playground for young children. Enjoy reasonably priced concessions like popcorn, pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream. You can stay in your car, or spread out on a blanket in the grass and take in the outdoors during the show. Tickets run $7 for adults, $5 for children and kids under 5 get in free. 


The Raleigh Road Drive-In in Henderson, North Carolina, keeps fans coming back with its digitally projected first-run movies, delicious made-to-order food, and laid-back atmosphere. Check out their Back to Old School Movie Night during the summer where they pair a classic film with a new flick. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for children 3-11 and children under age 3 get in free. 


Head to the Hounds Drive-In in Kings Mountain, North Carolina for a show on their enormous 50 x 100 feet high-definition screen. They offer a full-service concession stand with fare like popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, burgers and various novelty ice cream options. Hounds Drive-In charges by the car with $15 cash per car load, $25 for church vans and $50 for buses. 


Run by the Stinnett family since 1984, the Sunset Drive-In in Shelby strives to provide an affordable family evening full of entertainment and excitement with first-run feature films. Sunset allows outside food but also offers a made-to-order snack bar like loaded chili burgers and chili dogs, cheese fries, nachos, candy and fresh popcorn. Sunset charges $12 cash per carload, so pile in and head over for a show. 


Hwy 21 Drive-In in Beaufort, South Carolina, plays 4 movies per evening on two separate screens. Their snack bar offers everything from burgers and hot dogs to pizza and ice cream. Named as one of America's top ten drive-in movie theaters by TripAdvisor, Highway 21 Drive-In received a perfect score from reviewers for its reasonable ticket prices, wallet-saving concession prices, and the addition of a second screen and digital projectors. The theater charges $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12.


Head to the 25 Drive-In Theatre in Greenwood, South Carolina for one of the largest digital screens on the East Coast. Showing movies since 1945, the 25 Drive-In is a 3 screen theater with a full restaurant menu including southern fried chicken, pork tenderloin BBQ, and a variety of hotdogs, burgers, and chili cheese fries. Tickets are $5 per person.


The Big Mo in Monetta, South Carolina packs 'em in all summer and for good reason. This theater offers an unforgettable evening of nostalgic fun for the whole family. The Big Mo also provides an authentic drive-in experience with a full-service concession stand with hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs, pizza, cotton candy and more. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children ages 4-11 and children ages 3 and under are free. 

Don't forget your snacks! Bring popcorn to the theater with gourmet corn selections from the Popcorn Factory. AAA members save 20% on purchases of popcorn and various other gourmet snacks and gift baskets. Make sure you can see the big screen clearly with some new specs from one of our many AAA vision partners. We offer savings with LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, and Target Optical. AAA members save 30% off eye exams and accessories, 10% off contact lenses, 15% off lenses and frames, plus $5 off in-store promotional offers. Check out all the discounts and perks your AAA membership has to offer and give us a call at 1-866-593-8626 to make sure your membership is up to date. 



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