Outdoor Movies Worth the Drive

Sun-Ray Drive In. Photo from sunraycinema.com.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, which means it’s the perfect time to get outside after dark and take in an outdoor movie screening or two. Whether it’s a one-on-one date night with your sweetie or a whole family ordeal with a car full of kids, there’s an outdoor movie screening for every occasion in the Jacksonville area. 

Sun-Ray Drive-In

Following a successful run as a pandemic-era pop up drive in, the folks behind Sun-Ray Cinema opened a permanent drive-in theater in January 2021 to the delight of movie lovers throughout Jacksonville. The Sun-Ray Cinema is a favorite of local cinephiles thanks to their well-curated mix of first run and throwback screenings, a theme that carries over to their new drive-in. For everything from an intimate date night to a family-friendly gathering, it’s hard to beat Sun-Ray’s incorporation of retro and modern. $25; Sundown Friday and Saturday; 7059 Ramona Blvd, Jacksonville, FL; sunraycinema.com // @sunraycine

Celebrate Arlington: Norman Studios Film Screening

The importance of Norman Studios’ role in early cinema cannot be understated: they were among the first studios to produce films that prominently featured Black actors in positive roles. Norman’s work on influential films like “The Flying Ace,” which eschewed racial stereotypes for more realistic and heroic portrayals of Black Americans. The Norman Studios Silent Film Museum is in the process of being restored, but while we wait, the folks at Norman Studios are throwing a silent film screening on the grounds, preceded by tours of the property and a brief overview of the studio’s history. This is a must-see event for any Jacksonville area movie lovers and history buffs. Free. 5 p.m. Friday, September 30; 6337 Arlington Rd Jacksonville, FL; normanstudios.org 

Jacksonville Beach Moonlight Movies

Once a month, Jacksonville Beach throws a family-friendly throwback movie screening right off the boardwalk. September’s screening of “Back to the Future” will have plenty of food vendors and special giveaways courtesy of the event’s sponsors, as well as kid-oriented entertainment like face painting and balloon animal makers! Free. 9 p.m.; 11 1st Street N Jacksonville Beach, FL; jacksonvillebeach.org 

BrewHound Dog Park & Bar Fall Movie Nights

Take the best parts of heading to a dog park (with or without your own pooch) and add the communal good vibes of a solid local bar and you’ve got an idea of what’s in store at BrewHound. Every Thursday this Fall they’re showing a family and dog-friendly picture that’s viewable both inside and outside. Their upcoming screenings are a healthy mix of new and old, including “Daddy Day Care,” “Bolt” and “Big.” Free. Sundown Thursdays. 1848 Kings Cir S, Neptune Beach, FL; brew-hound.com // @brewhounddogparkbar

Jesup Drive-In

About a 90 minute drive North from downtown Jacksonville, this Georgia drive-in is totally worth the trip. Opened in 1948, Jesup is Georgia’s oldest drive-in, but boasts some modern amenities, like online concessions ordering that can be delivered directly to your car window by a friendly car hop. Two double features each night across two screens means they can reliably grab a variety of some of the best new releases for every taste and age. $7. Sundown Friday and Saturday. 3686 Savannah Hwy, Jesup, GA; jesupmovies.com 

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