Drive-In Movie Tips & Tricks


Summer adventuring looks a little different these days and with movie theaters closed my family has been a frequent patron of the drive-in movie theater. I am not sure why it took a pandemic to begin frequenting these gems. It is fabulous and relatively cheap. For the longest time we did not have a drive-in in the Coastal Bend. However, People’s Restaurant was extremely innovative and began showing movies several times a week while restaurants remained closed for dining in. A drive-in movie is relatively hassle free but I’ve included 10 things to pack and tips to make it even more stress-free and enjoyable for the whole family. 

  1. Windex & Paper Towels

We are never good at keeping our cars clean and sometimes the windshield cleaner and blades just don’t do the job. I packed some Windex and paper towels so I could get the windshield sparkly clean for our viewing pleasure. 

2. Portable Radio

If you don’t want to keep your vehicle idling the entire movie take a portable radio since this is how you hear the audio from the movie

3. Flashlight

Once the sunsets and you are trying to find something in the bottom of your purse you realize your night vision is not what it use to be. Bring a flashlight to find those napkins or that germ-ex!

4. Tray

If you plan on eating a meal bring some sort of TV Tray or Cafeteria tray to make it easier and prevent mess. 

5. Bag for Trash

With snacks and food comes trash and the last thing you want is to have to clean the car or have some foul odor of hidden food the next day after its cooked in the Texas heat. Take a trash bag with you so all you have to do is place one bag in the trash can and the car is clean. 

6. A Dark Towel with Tape

You only need this if you are going to stay inside your vehicle while viewing. Nowadays the front dash computer and console light up like a Christmas Tree so we took a dark towel to cover the dash and make it as similar to a dark theater as possible.

7. Pillows & Blankets

Whether you are planning on staying inside your car, making a lounge in the back of your SUV or chilling in the bed of a truck it’s nice to have those comforts of the movies to make it more cozy and enjoyable. Plus, if you have little ones that fall asleep you want them to be comfortable while you enjoy the screening. 

8. Lawn Chairs

If you are planning on watching the movie in the bed of a truck, it might be helpful to take lawn chairs. You most likely will be in the back rows behind the compact cars and sitting on the tailgate is not only uncomfortable but might be too low for a great view of the screen. 

9. Bug Spray

If you decide to sit outside or roll down the windows there is one thing to be sure that the mosquitoes will also be enjoying the show as well so spray up!

10. Booster Cables

Rather be safe than sorry right? You definitely don’t want to be stranded with a dead battery and no way to fix it!

My family has been to People’s Restaurant twice for a drive-in movie (never before to dine-in) and we have been extremely impressed with their processes. 

  • Once you arrive a staff member checks your ticket and guides you to your assigned spot
  • Once parked they assist you in turning off your running light 
    • (engage parking brake, turn off car, turn on car)
  • If you would like to order food you can do so through their extremely user friendly website and just list your spot number in the notes. The pizza was delicious and if you want an adult beverage they have those!
  • Rules and procedures are shown prior to the movie
  • If you need to use the restroom the entrance a “stoplight” red for occupied and green for available. Only one family is allowed at a time to use the restrooms. The restrooms were SPOTLESS. They only allowed you to use one stall and cleaned after EVERY use. 
  • Right before the movie starts they have a Kahoot (usually in the theme of the movie)
  • At the end of the movie the staff guide you to the exit and take your trash before you exit. 

If you aren’t local to the Coastal Bend this website is a great tool to search for one closets to you. Fiesta Texas is also following the trend and doing outdoor screenings.

Where is your favorite Drive-In Movie Theater?

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Madison O
Madison is a Texas A&M Graduate who is beginning her 6th year as a Technical Theatre teacher and 3rd year at Gregory-Portland High School. She and her wife moved to the coastal bend to be closer to family as they began the fertility process to grow their family. Madison and her wife were thrilled to welcome their daughter, Amelia, to the family in May via Reciprocal IVF. Madison has also begun working toward her Masters degree in Educational Administration at TAMUCC (gotta keep it in the Aggie family!) Talk about one busy mama! Madison enjoys time outside and has always loved to write for her own personal blog in her free time. She is so excited to start this new adventure of motherhood and to be joining the wonderful community of Corpus Christi Moms on the blog!