North Carolina’s 6 drive-in movie theaters make for dreamy summer nights

North Carolina’s 6 drive-in movie theaters make for dreamy summer nights

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Vanessa Infanzon

July 10, 2024

North Carolina is home to six drive-in movie theaters. Learn about each one, then get ready for a 1950s-style date night.

In the early 2000s, my husband and I went on a mission to visit as many of the local drive-in movie theaters in North Carolina as we could. We timed some with our travels around the state.

We toted two young boys with us, who slept in the backseat, snuggled under blankets. It was nostalgic for me – I grew up going to the drive-in theater in Rocky Point, New York – and a new experience for my husband who had never been to one. It also provided a date night for us without the babysitting costs. 

There are six drive-in theaters left in the state, down from its peak of more than 200 in the 1950s. With the advent of VCRs, most closed. The ones that remain – some new or reopened – provide the “under the stars” movie experience.

“Customers can get as comfy as they like,” says Peter Krumenacker, co-owner of Triangle Cinemas and Drive-In in Raleigh. “Lay down in the back of your car, look out of a convertible, sit on the roof. Bring pillows and blankets. I’ve even seen mattresses in the back of pick-up trucks.”

Many drive-in theaters are locally owned and operated. Each set rules regarding bringing alcohol, outside food and pets, purchasing tickets, and when the movies begin. Several theaters only accept cash. Guidelines are posted on the drive-in’s website or on its social media. Raleigh Road Drive-In offers a first-timer’s checklist here.

1. Badin Road Drive-In Theater

Location: 2411 Badin Road, Albemarle

Social: Facebook

The Badin Road Drive-in Theater opened in 1948 with  space for 400 cars to watch a double feature:  James Cagney in “Each Dawn I Die” and Tex Ritter in “Starlight Over Texas.” The theater later added a second screen and space for almost 700 cars. 

What to expect: 

  • Cash only
  • Playground, picnic area, concessions
  • Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The first shows start at dark.
  • Tickets for double feature: $8 per person 12 and up, $6 per child 5-11

2. Belmont Drive-In Theatre

Location: 314 McAdenville Road, Belmont

Social: Facebook, Instagram

In 1948, Belmont Drive-In Theater opened as a Drive-In with a capacity for 150 cars. The name changed to Belmont Drive-In in 1950 and operated until 2014, when it closed. It reopened in June 2023 with the capacity for 340 cars on a four-acre field.

What to expect: 

  • Cash only
  • Concessions
  • Gates open at 6 p.m.
  • First movie starts at sundown.
  • Admission is $25 per carload. No re-entry.

3. Eden Drive-In Twin

Location: 106 Fireman Club Road, Eden

Social: Facebook

Eden Drive-In Twin opened in 1949 with one screen but added a second in 2020. 

What to expect: 

  • Cash only
  • Grill open
  • Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The first movies start at dark. 
  • Tickets for double feature: $8 per adult and $6 per child, ages 5-11.

4. Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre

Location: 3336 Raleigh Road, Henderson

Since 1949, when Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre showed “Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves,” the drive-in has been in continuous operation, although under different names and ownership.  

Social: Facebook, Instagram

What to expect: 

  • Accepts cash, credit cards, Apply Pay, Cash App, and Google Pay
  • Open year-round and opens at 7 p.m.
  • Concessions, playground
  • Friendly pets are welcome
  • Tickets for double feature: $10 per adult, $7 per child 3-11 years old

5. Stateline Movie Time Drive-In

Location: 3851 Dothan Rd, Tabor City
Information: (910) 499-1756

Sherry Barnes, opened The Stateline Movie Time Drive-In, in 2019 with Hugh Jackman in “Missing Link” and Anne Hathaway in “The Hustle.” Barnes uses the tagline “This ain’t your Mama’s drive-in movie theater,” to describe the venue. The drive-in hosts concerts and special events, and allows overnight camping, grilling, and bonfires with permission.

What to expect: 

  • Cash only at the gate.
  • Open at 7:30 p.m. and movies begin at dusk.
  • Tickets: $10 per car plus $11.50 per adult, $7.50 for child. Group discounts for four or more: $10 per adult and $6 per child.

6. Triangle Cinemas and Drive-In

Location: 9500 Forum Drive, Raleigh

Social: Facebook, Instagram

Triangle Cinemas and Drive-In may be North Carolina’s newest drive-in theater. After a few successful mobile drive-ins during the pandemic, it opened its permanent location in 2023. The drive-in is connected to a traditional movie theater. 

What to expect: 

  • Accepts cash, credit cards, debit cards and Apple Pay
  • Concessions
  • Gates open one hour before the first showtime.
  • Tickets are purchased online: $11 per adult, $9 per child

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.North Carolina’s 6 drive-in movie theaters make for dreamy summer nightsNorth Carolina’s 6 drive-in movie theaters make for dreamy summer nights


  • Vanessa Infanzon

    Vanessa Infanzon moved from New York to NC for college and never left. When she’s not writing, she’s paddle boarding at the Whitewater Center.

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