The Beach Times

Spending a Special Evening at the Wellfleet Drive-In
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 15, 2020

After a day spent experiencing the Cape Cod National Seashore, biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, or exploring Wellfleet Town Pier, you might want to wind down with a quiet activity in the evening.

Luckily, the Wellfleet Drive-In is an option. This historic movie theater allows you to enjoy a double feature from your vehicle, enabling you to avoid the lines and crowds associated with an indoor cinema. 

The Wellfleet Drive-In is located on Route 6 in South Wellfleet, making it easily accessible from most vacation rentals in the area, and a relaxing place to finish a day on the Cape.

Here's some information on this venue and the other activities it has on the premises. 

The Drive-In's History

The Wellfleet Drive-In is a historic theater that first opened in 1957, with renovations the following year adding supports to the screen. The original speaker boxes remain in place, or you can listen to the films through your car stereo if you aren't into the vintage experience.

The theater added a mini-golf course in 1961, giving families who arrive early an activity while waiting for the feature to begin. Other additions to the venue include the Flea Market, which opened in 1974, and the indoor theater, which appeared in 1986.

Today, the Wellfleet Drive-In has digital projectors that provide a state-of-the-art viewing experience combined with the nostalgia of watching a movie in your car. This facility is the only drive-in theater on Cape Cod, and one of only 300 left in the United States, so make sure you check it out while on the Cape.

About the Drive-In

The protocol for the drive-in itself is rather simple, as tickets generally go on sale two or three days before the showing. The theater is open every day of the week during the summer, with shows starting once the sun goes down.

You can arrive at the drive-in starting at 7:00 PM, and organizers recommend that you get there as early as possible for the best spots. Two features will play every night, with the second movie usually getting started before 10:00.

When you pay for a ticket, you're paying for both films. You can leave after the first film, however. You'll also have the opportunity to show up for only the second movie, space permitting, but advanced tickets are not available in this scenario.

Keep in mind that the Wellfleet Drive-In generally plays older films, as they reserve new releases for the indoor theater.

The Indoor Cinema

The indoor movie theater is on the same property as the drive-in and plays new releases all year long. This indoor cinema is about the same price as the drive-in, except it isn't a double feature.

You can buy tickets in advance online for any show, which is a good idea during the busy season.

The theater also has a concession and offers a much more personal experience than the major chains that own many of the country's cinemas. 

Mini Golf and Ice Cream

As we mentioned, you'll want to show up well before the first movie begins to get yourself a good viewing location.

So how do you spend your time?

The Wellfleet Drive-In has a mini-golf course, so you can play 18 holes while you wait. The course is mostly unchanged from 1961, giving it a vintage feel that your kids won't experience anywhere else.

If you aren't into mini-golf, you can also spend some time at the Dairy Bar. You can grab an ice cream, sundae, root beer float, milkshake, or frozen yogurt to enjoy at the indoor, air-conditioned lounge or outside on the patio.

It's usually painful to pass the time while waiting for a movie to begin, but the Wellfleet Drive-In makes it just as much fun as the film itself.

An On-Site Flea Market

A final addition to the Wellfleet Drive-In is the Wellfleet Flea Market, the largest one on the entire Cape. The Wellfleet Flea Market doesn't operate at the same time as the drive-in but is instead a way to use the space during the day.

You'll pay an admission fee of about $3 per car to enter the Wellfleet Flea Market, and from there, you'll have access to over 150 vendors selling everything from antiques to Cape Cod memorabilia.

If you're looking for a rare item to bring home from your Cape Cod vacation, this market is one place to visit.

There's a snack bar and beer garden at the Wellfleet Flea Market, too, if you aren't into the shopping aspect of things.

A One-of-a-Kind Cape Cod Destination

You won't find many venues like the Wellfleet Drive-In elsewhere in the United States because this type of facility is a dying breed. As a result, it's good to check out this locally owned and operated outdoor movie theater while staying in Wellfleet because you never know when you'll have another opportunity.

The Wellfleet Drive-In provides an excellent mix of 1950s nostalgia and modern convenience, making it a must-visit location while experiencing everything the Cape has to offer.

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