A Charming Relic From Another Time, Still Going Strong

Seeing a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In is a blast to the past, a dose of nostalgia for those who grew up when drive-in theaters were still hugely popular – there were once over 4,000 drive-ins throughout the United States – and a new experience for the younger generation who may have never even heard of a drive-in. During their heyday in the 1950s and 60s, drive-ins were a part of the cultural fabric, a place to see the newest films and socialize under the stars.

Wellfleet Drive-In screened its first movie in 1957, but rather than shut down as the world moved on to indoor theaters and later to streaming movies at home, they’re still showing films nightly and adding a bit of cinematic magic to summertime on Cape Cod. It’s an easy and scenic 20-mile drive from the friendliest year-round hotel in Provincetown to their theater in south Wellfleet, so plan an evening at the drive-in during your stay – you can’t beat seeing a movie on a warm night as the sun sets on Cape Cod, a classic summer outing to remember.

What to Expect at the Wellfleet Drive-In

Wellfleet-Drive-in by Elizabeth BrookeAlthough the Wellfleet Drive-In screen may date back to the 50s, the movies they show on it are new releases, usually screening from one Thursday to the following Thursday, with the lineup changing leading into the weekend. And unlike an indoor movie theater, where you choose your seats, your space at the drive-in is determined by the size of your vehicle. Sedans and smaller cars get the first few rows, SUVs and taller vehicles go in the rows behind them, and the largest campers and RVs are in the back – this allows every car to have a clear line of sight to the screen. So, if you have a tall SUV like a Suburban or a roof rack that sticks up high, don’t be offended if the Wellfleet Drive-In staff parks you further back, as they’re just trying to make the moviegoing experience ideal for everyone. To get the best chance at a row closer to the screen, show up early, as you cannot reserve spaces in advance.

The sounds can come from two sources; you can choose which one! You can prop the old fashion speaker on your inside window or tune into your radio at 89.5.

One of the best parts about seeing a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In is that every night is a double feature, so settle in for a whole night of movie enjoyment. The first movie begins around 8:30 pm, followed by an intermission, and the second show starts at 11:10 pm. Their snack bar in the drive-in center covers all your snacking needs, with favorites like popcorn and candy alongside dinner items like pizza, hamburgers, and salads.

More Than Just a Drive-In – Mini Golf, Ice Cream, and Flea Market Finds

The movies may get top billing at the drive-in but don’t miss out on two other fun-filled excursions on the same property. Their mini golf course, built over six decades ago, still has many original golf holes, a putt-putt course as retro as the drive-in itself! The mini golf course is open until 8:30 pm daily, so show up early, reserve your space at the theater, and play mini golf while eating delicious ice cream from their Dairy Bar.

Speakers at the Wellfleet Drive-In TheatreTo make a full day of it, come early for the Wellfleet Drive-In Flea Market when local vendors set up on the drive-in grounds from 8 am – 3 pm on Wed, Thurs, Sat, and Sun. Check for daily updates on the flea market Facebook page, where they share how many vendors are coming on any particular day. Depending on the day, there can be anywhere from 20 to 100 vendors, with some veteran vendors selling here for over four decades. There are all kinds of gems and surprises, from ocean-themed handmade jewelry to cutting boards engraved with lighthouses. It’s also the perfect place to find a special lobster or whale tchotchke, a fun way to remember your time on Cape Cod and night at the drive-in.

Stay with us at our Provincetown lodging this summer and spend an evening at the Wellfleet Drive-In!