Drive-Ins, Dive-Ins and Outdoor Summer Movies

What do you get when you cross five drive-in movie theatres, an olympic-size pool, an inflatable outdoor screen, pizza and your own backyard? You get some pretty awesome family movie nights!

Here’s the 2014 Summer Outdoor Movie Experiences in and around the Tampa Bay Area. I’ll bet there are more, and if you know of any, please add them in the comments section below.

So let’s go to the movies!

1) Fun-Lan Drive-In Theatre
2302 E. Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, FL 33610

fun lan 2Fun-Lan shows movies seven days a week on four screens. Box office opens at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:15 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The cost is $7 for adults and $2 for children ages 5-11. Cash only. Other location activities include one of Tampa Bay’s largest flea markets, the Swap Shop, which is open Thursday through Sunday.


2) Sunset Cinema
Clearwater’s Pier 60
10 Pier 60 Drive
Clearwater, FL 33767

sunset pierEnjoy a FREE movie every Friday and Saturday evening at dusk, weather permitting. Bring a blanket or low sitting chair, and popcorn and drinks are available. Other activities at the Pier include a family festival, which runs seven days a week from 6:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m. Events include artisans, crafters, musical entertainment and street performers.

3) Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre
5011 U.S. Hwy 41 North
Ruskin, Florida 33572
(about 30 minutes from South Tampa)

RuskinRuskin Family Drive-In is open everyday rain or shine. Box office opens at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 8 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays. The cost is $6 per adult and $1 for children ages 5-8. Cash only. This includes two movies on one screen. Bonus -they allow you to bring your dog as long as it’s on a leash, doesn’t bark at people and you clean up after it.


4) Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre
4100 New Tampa Highway
Lakeland, FL 33815
(about 35 minutes from South Tampa)

silver-moon-signSilvermoon Drive-In is open seven days a week. The cost is $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 4-9. Silver Moon has two screens usually showing first-run movies. Each screen has a double feature. Other location activities include the Swap Shop, which is open Saturdays and Sundays.






5) Joy-Lan Drive-In Theatre
16414 U.S. 301
Dade City, FL 33523
(about 50 minutes from South Tampa)

drivein1_219073a_8colJoy-Lan Drive-In is open Wednesday through Sunday and closed Monday and Tuesday. The cost is $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 4-9. Joy-Lan has one screen with a double feature and often shows first-run movies. Other location activities include the Swap Shop, which is open Saturdays and Sundays.



Here are a few drive-in movie tips:

  • Call the drive-in and confirm the movie times listed online.
  • Go early to get a good spot. If you have a large pick-up or van, be courteous and park towards the rear.
  • Bring CASH – many locations don’t accept credit cards.
  • Pack lawn chairs in case you want to sit outside your car. Otherwise sit in the comfort of your own car and tune into the radio to hear the movie.
  • Bring mosquito spray!
  • Support the drive-in theatre and purchase from their snack bars. Of course only if it’s clean and appealing! Read the online reviews and decide for yourself.

6) St. Pete Beach Dive-In Movies
St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center
7701 Boca Ciega Drive
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Dive-In-composite-largeFloat in their Junior Olympic size pool every Friday night for a kid-friendly movie. Doors open at 8 p.m., weather permitting. Admission is $4 per person. Bring your noodles, floats and chairs and money for refreshments and of course money for the glow-in-the-dark jewelry. Check their website for movie listings.


7) Tate’s Pizzeria and Sports Bar
3342 S. Westshore Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33629
813-832-5675 or like them on Facebook.

ss-2Enjoy dinner and a movie on their outdoor 12′ screen every Friday night.  You will have to call the day of to see what’s playing.





8) Your Own Backyard

Yard photoTransform your backyard into an outdoor movie adventure. Rent an inflatable 12′ screen and projector from a local Tampa business like Acme Outdoor Movie Company for about $350, or buy your own projector and outdoor screen like these on Better yet, make your own screen like the ones here.


In my online research, I came across many past Tampa Bay outdoor movie events, which sadly seem to be history. These include things like, Movies on the Patio at the Dali Museum in St. Pete, Flick-n-Float in Largo and Scream on the Green (adults only) at Curtis Hixon Park. Even the Flicks and Food Trucks at the Grand Central on Kennedy is on hiatus for the summer due to area construction. You can keep up with Flicks and Food Trucks on Facebook to see when they’re up and running again. And for the families in Westchase and Wesley Chapel, stay tuned for your monthly outdoor movies coming this Fall!

I hope this list proves helpful. I know in my home we’ll be pressing pause on the Little House on the Prairie series and trying one of these outdoor movie experiences! See you at the movies!

Bright calls Tampa home after spending 17 years in New York City. Originally from Atlanta, she graduated from FSU with a B.S. in Communications. Prior to a career in Motherhood, Bright worked in a Manhattan advertising agency, as well as a popular cable TV network in Promotions and Sponsorships. She also did Public Relations for a national urban ministry. Bright is now a stay-at-home mom who is married to her best everything, has four active kids and is passionate about moms! She recently joined the premium skincare line, Rodan + Fields as a consultant and launched her personal blog. She loves to play tennis, grab a coffee with friends, write to encourage others and unwind with a favorite TV show. You can get to know her better on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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