At one time there were over 400 drive-ins in Texas. Today, they are scarce. For most people my age, drive-ins are relegated to the world of Danny Zuko singing "Stranded at the Drive-In" in the movie Grease. Drive-in movie theaters in Texas are rare as hen's teeth, but these dinosaurs have not gone extinct. In fact, there are actually some new ones. So if you're looking for a good dose of nostalgia, whether it be authentic or new, here are ten drive-in movie theaters in Texas you should visit.
1. Brazos Drive-In Theatre -- Granbury
The Brazos Drive-In Theatre is one of the few drive-in theaters in Texas that has been in continuous operation since it first opened in 1952. It's located just about a mile from Granbury's Historic Square.
2. Showboat Drive-In -- Hockley
The Showboat Drive-In in Hockley is a modern drive-in theater named for a 1952 drive-in restaurant in Houston. The theater is family-owned and operated since its opening in 2006.
3. Town & Country Drive-In -- Abilene
The Town & Country Drive-In was called "The biggest drive-in theater in Texas" when it was built in 1956. The 23-acre lot had two screens, and a playground with a Ferris wheel. It closed in 1981, but was purchased and restored 19 years later and is still functioning today.
4. Galaxy Drive-In -- Garrett/Ennis
The Galaxy Drive-In was built in 2003, but it harkens back to the time when drive-ins were new and plentiful. You can visit the Galaxy seven days a week to see a movie and play some miniature golf.
5. Mission Marquee Plaza -- San Antonio
The Mission drive-in opened in 1948 and was acquired by the city of San Antonio in 2007. Since then it has undergone extensive renovations including a mural recreation. Today, the theater looks almost exactly as it did when it first opened nearly 70 years ago.
6. Coyote Drive-In -- Fort Worth
At Coyote Drive-In you can see a movie outdoors with the skyline of Fort Worth in the background. You can get more than popcorn and soda; they serve a menu of dinner items as well as wine and beer.
7. The Last Drive-In Picture Show -- Gatesville
The Last Drive-In Picture Show, you might have guessed, is named for The Last Picture Show by native Texan author Larry McMurtry. When it first opened in 1950, it was called the Circle Drive-In. It has gone through several names since then, closing and re-opening through the years.
8. Stars & Stripes Drive-In -- Lubbock & New Braunfels
Ryan Smith, the owner of the Stars & Stripes Drive-In, decided to follow in his Grandfather's footsteps by opening a drive-in. Smith's grandfather opened the Sky-Vue Drive-In in La Mesa in 1948. The Stars & Stripes Drive-In opened in Lubbock in 2003, and a second location opened in New Braunfels in 2015.
9. Big Sky Drive-In -- Midland
The Big Sky Drive-In in Midland is a little slice of nostalgia itself. There have three screens and admission is just $8 for adults and $6 for kids.
10. Wes Mer Drive-In -- Mercedes
The Wes Mer Drive-In in Mercedes is one of the very last drive-ins in the Rio Grande Valley. Show up on Tuesdays for discounted admission.