One of our family’s favorite summer adventures is an annual trip to the drive-in.
If our schedules allow, we try to do a few more trips if possible, because we have so much fun!
I’m sharing tips and what to pack for the drive-in to help you have a great experience.
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Drive-ins are perfect for date night or hanging out with friends and family.
great memories guaranteed!
The drive-in is also an affordable way for families to catch two first-run movies. the success of an amazing night at the drive-in comes down to a little prep work before you go.
here’s what’s on our drive-in packing list
1. folding chairs
Depending on the temperatures, you’ll most likely want to sit outside your vehicle.
We bring camping chairs and have also brought the bench out of our minivan in years past. I know that sounds pretty redneck, but it’s very comfortable.
You can also set up a great area for the kids in the back of a minivan. if you have a truck, bring an air mattress and pillows for supreme comfort.
I’m also a big fan of inflatable loungers because they’re small and very comfortable.
2. pack a cooler with drinks
We pack drinks for the children, water, iced tea or soft drinks, and a thermos of coffee with some cream for the 2nd movie.
Trust me when I say you’ll need something to help you stay awake, especially for the second movie.
many of the second movies don’t even start until around 11:30.
3. dinner & snacks
We usually bring pizza with us and have fed our family before on other occasions, but everyone is instantly hungry as soon as we arrive anyway.
hot and ready little caesars is always a quick option or we’ve called ahead to a pizza chain near the drive-in and picked it up on the way so it’s still hot.
You’ll also need time to move everything you’re bringing, so who really wants to cook and clean up dinner first?
You stay up late, so it’s all about the carbs. you can’t go wrong with popcorn, pretzels, and chips.
If you opt for healthier options, you may need to prepare a bit before you go.
the dollar tree is a great place to stop for movie theater style candy or you can buy a candy mix on amazon.
Usually we let everyone pick one of their favorites and then have some snacks like twizzlers to share.
extra money for concession snacks
**note that some drive-ins charge a fee if you bring your own food because they make money from their concession sales.
concession sales help keep drive-ins running. shop at the concession stand if you can afford it.
4. plastic plates, napkins and cups
They are useful for serving meals and snacks. baby wipes are also great for serving popcorn or smaller treats.
Baby wipes are also a great idea for sticky fingers and spills.
5. portable radio
save your car battery and be sure to test your batteries before you go. If you don’t want to deal with searching for batteries, opt for a solar powered radio.
6. sports equipment to play before dark
You have to get there early if you want a good seat at the drive-in.
have a glow-in-the-dark football or frisbee, etc. makes time fly with the kids.
Your kids will also instantly make new friends to play with.
a set of portable cornhole is also a good idea for adults while they wait.
7. insect repellent
Better safe than sorry. you don’t want to take mosquito bites home with you as a souvenir. make sure to bring bug spray!
If you’re bringing a baby, consider purchasing a stroller mosquito net to protect them from bugs.
8. a snuggie and several blankets
This is a place where you can proudly wear your snuggie because you won’t freeze your butt off.
The weather can be deceiving and a warm day still makes for a really cool night.
9. sweatshirts and jeans or your favorite stretchy yoga pants
….because you’ll burn through a week’s worth of calories in one night and it makes you feel less guilty when your pants don’t cut off oxygen. Before the movie starts, you might want to go ahead and help change your younger kids into pajamas.
10. a portable dvd player, tablet or cell phone with movies for kids
In case your second movie is 13 degrees or too scary or violent for young children, you can have them watch another movie in the opposite direction from your car.
You may also want to bring them headphones.
11. bring plastic bags for garbage
You’ll accumulate trash pretty quickly and it’s easier to keep your vehicle clean if you have trash bags on hand.
12. she can still bring her baby if she has one
When our children were very young, we only brought their portable crib with us.
It’s a great option if you have a baby and need to go out and don’t want to pay for a babysitter.
It gets dark real quick when you’re trying to find your car from the bathroom.
Bring a real flashlight or make sure you have the flashlight app on your phone.
14. luminous necklaces and necklaces luminous wands
just because they’re fun. glow necklaces and glow sticks are an easy and inexpensive way to make the journey a little more magical. The glow sticks can also help you track your kids more easily when it gets dark.
15. bring rope
Some drive-ins supply ropes for vehicles to tie down their trunks. It doesn’t hurt to have some in case you plan on watching the movie from the back of your vehicle. the clothesline rope also works.
16. check your screen # for each movie
This is important if you’re visiting a multi-screen drive-in theater. there is a possibility that the first and second movies will play on different screens.
packing list for the drive-in
Use the packing list above so you don’t forget any drive-in essentials.
local drive-ins near cincinnati
we have a few options in the cincinnati metro for drive-ins.
2255 oh-125, amelia, oh
holiday auto theater
1816 old oxford rd, hamilton, oh
find a drive-in near you
Use this search to find the nearest drive-in theater.
additional summer items to check out
create your own summer wish list – free printable
25 summer wish list ideas
tips to create your #bestsummer
Did I leave something out?
leave me a comment and tell me what you’re bringing to the drive-in.
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