One of my favorite things to do over the summer is enjoy outdoor movies with my family. Whether it is at our local park, on the beach or at a drive-in theater, there are so many ways to experience a movie in the summer. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family and create memories to last a lifetime.
Each year I try to find a new outdoor movie experience for my family to enjoy. New Jersey and the surrounding areas offer so many fun ways to watch a movie so I thought why not put together a list that we all could benefit from. After researching what is offered and combining it with what I have already experienced, I bring you:
Unique Outdoor Summer Movie Experiences
Kip’s Castle Park, Verona (Updated 2017)
An outdoor movie experience my family really enjoys takes place at Kip’s Castle in Verona, NJ. Between the view of the castle and the NYC Skyline, Kip’s Castle Park offers a truly unique movie experience. On Friday evening, June 9 and June 16, there is an outdoor movie that begins at dusk. Did I mention admission is FREE? What’s even cooler is that when you park on the street, you can take a trolley up to the castle. This is an experience my kids still talk about and cannot wait to return this summer!
- June 9 : A Dog’s Purpose
- June 16 : SING
ZOO-VIES, West Orange (2016)
Every Wednesday evening this summer the Turtle Back Zoo is excited to present ZOO-VIES. Beginning at dusk, family-friendly movies will be presented for FREE on the rooftop of the brand new parking deck. To add to the excitement, the Turtle Back Zoo will also be open for Family Night prior to the show (reduced admission after 5pm and the zoo remains open until 8:30pm). ZOO-VIES will on Wednesday evenings in July and August.
- July 6: Jumanji
- July 13: Jaws
- July 20: Zookeeper
- July 27: Kung Fu Panda 3
- August 3: Muppets Most Wanted
- August 10: Aladdin
- August 17: Finding Nemo
- August 24: Babe the Gallant Pig
- August 31: Zootopia
Anchor Golf Center Outdoor Movie Night, Whippany (2016)
I have heard of movies in the park, on the beach and even at a zoo, but a movie at a golf center? Now that sounds like a unique movie experience! This summer families can pack up their blankets and lawn chairs and get comfortable on the Party Green at Anchor Golf Center in Whippany. Pizza, popcorn and ice cream will be available for purchase.
- June 24: The Sandlot
- July 29: The Greatest Game Ever Played
- August 26: Back to the Future
Hoboken Movies Under the Stars, Hoboken (2016)
If you enjoy the NYC skyline, then you will also love Movies Under the Stars at Pier A Park in Hoboken, NJ. Every Wednesday from June 8 through August 17, families can enjoy a FREE outdoor movie. It is important to note that movies range in ratings from PG to R so make sure you check the schedule before heading out with the little ones! Families are encouraged to come early and to bring a blanket or low-back chairs to enjoy the movie. You many also bring food to enjoy a picnic with your friends and family (alcohol is not allowed). * Denotes special programming for children at 7pm.
- June 8: Creed
- June 15: Joy
- June 22: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- June 29: The Big Short
- July 13: The Martian
- July 20: Brooklyn
- July 27: Jurassic World
- August 3: Minions*
- August 10: The Peanuts Movie*
- August 17: Inside Out*
Applegate Farms Movies Under the Stars, Montclair (2016)
Last summer, Monica and I brought our kids to a fun movie night experience at Applegate Farms located in Upper Montclair. Before the show we enjoyed dancing and games with a DJ then an exciting magic show. Admission and activities are FREE. Ice cream is an additional fee, but I highly recommend it! Before each movie at 6 pm, families can enjoy activities, prizes, and music. The magic show begins at 8 pm with the following at 8:30 pm. Don’t forget your chair!
- June 29: The Good Dinosaur
- July 6: Hotel Transylvania 2
- July 13: Goosebumps
- July 20: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- July 27: Cinderella
- August 3: Inside Out
Every summer my family and I enjoy at least one double feature at the Circle Drive-In Theater located in Dickson City, PA. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, families can enjoy a movie at 8:30pm and 10:15pm. Both movies are included in the admission price ($8/adult and $5/child). We arrive early and have a blast running up and down the hill and playing football and soccer in front of the big screen.
Delsea Drive-In Theatre is another fun choice for a drive-in movie experience. Located in Vineland, NJ, this is the only drive in theater left in NJ. This theater is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the summer. There are 2 screens each with a double feature with the first movie beginning around 8:20pm. Admission costs $11/adult, $6/children ages 4 and up, and children ages 3 and under are FREE.
Warwick Drive-In Theatre is another wonderful option especially for those living in North Jersey. Located in Warwick, NY, this theater is open EVERY night in the summer. There are 3 screens each with 2 movies a night. Admission is $11/adults, $8/kids ages 4-11 and seniors, and kids under age 4 are FREE. Movies vary from adult features rated R to kid friendly movies rated PG.
Movies on the Beach, Various Locations
After spending a brain boosting day at the beach, your family can change into comfy clothes and enjoy a great movie. Every Friday this summer, beginning June 24, families can head over to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk (near the pavilion) for Free Movies on the Beach. Make sure you check out their awesome line up of family friendly flicks!
- Cape May Movies on the Beach begins at 8:30pm but children’s activities are at 8pm (Updated 2017)
- July 6 – The Avengers
- July 13 – The Jungle Book
- July 20 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- July 27 – A Christmas Story
- August 3 – Grease A-Sing-Along
- August 10 – Jaws
- August 17 – Zootopia
- August 24 – Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
- Jenkinson’s Movies at The Beach begin at dusk but make sure to have your lawn chair and blanket. (2016)
- June 24: Pan
- July 1: Minions
- July 8: Pitch Perfect 2
- July 15: Zootopia
- July 22: Inside Out
- July 29: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- August 5: Goosebumps
- August 12: The Good Dinosaur
- August 19: Jurassic World
- August 26: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- September 2: Avengers: Age of Ulton
- Belmar Movies on the Beach begin at dusk on the 8th Avenue beach on Saturday nights. (2016)
- July 9: ET
- July 16: Frozen
- July 23: Inside Out
- July 20: Hotel Transylvania 2
- August 6: Monsters, Inc.
- August 13: Toy Story 2
- August 20: Minions
- August 27: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Montclair Film Festival Presents Free Outdoor Movies, Montclair (2016)
This summer families can enjoy a fun outdoor movie at unique locations throughout Montclair including Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, Van Vleck House and Gardens, Montclair Public Library and Church Street. The Montclair Film Festival invites families to enjoy live music before each movie. Each venue opens at 7:30pm.
- June 3 at Presby Iris Gardens: Inside Out
- July 29 at Montclair Public Library: The Wiz
- August 19 at Church Streets: Jaws (PG rated)
OSPAC, West Orange (Updated for 2017)
Another outdoor venue for music and festivals is OSPAC, Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center, located in West Orange. This space offers free family movies in August. While you can’t bring your own snacks, refreshments are available for purchase inside OSPAC. Doors open at 6pm for the movies on the lawn.
- August 10: Monster Truck
- August 17: Ant-Man
- August 22: Zootopia
Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater, Highland Park (Updated for 2017)
If you are looking for family friendly films in a fun and diverse neighborhood, then visit Highland Park for the Outdoor Movie Theater! Prior the main feature cartoons will be played for younger audience members and then at 9pm in the Municipal Lot (on Raritan Ave. between 2 and 3rd Aves.) the show will begin!
- May 20: The Dark Crystal
- June 3: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- June 17: Big Trouble in Little China
- July 1: The Grand Budapest Hotel
- July 15: Time Bandits
- July 29: Do the Right Thing
- August 12: Gimmer Danger
- August 26: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Plein Air Cinema Series, Hamilton (Updated for 2017)
This summer head to the gorgeous Grounds for Sculpture for a unique outdoor movie experience. Their #TBT film series will take you back to the 1980s with classic movies you can’t help but love. Bring a blanket, order a picnic basket from the Peacock Cafe and take in the night sky. You can even order a cocktail from Rat’s Restaurant!
- June 8: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Jets Movie Night on the Field, East Rutherford (2016)
If you are looking for a unique movie experience then watching a movie at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford definitely fits the bill! You can sit in the stadium or bring a blanket and sit on the field as you watch a family film. The gates open at 6pm and the movie begins at 7:30pm. This is an annual tradition sponsored by the Jets however you will need to get tickets prior to the film, so click here!
- July 30: Kung Fu Panda 3 (Cancelled due to weather)
Morgan Farm, Cedar Grove (2016)
Watching films under the stars has offers a unique experience when you can bring a lawn chair to Morgan’s Farm. In conjunction with the Cedar Grove Recreation several movies will be played this summer that begin at dusk. Popcorn and water will be provided by CGMAC.
- June 21: Cinderella (Guests from Perfect Princess Parties of NJ)
- July 5: Earth to Echo
- July 19: Zootopia
Alstede Farms, Chester (Updated for 2017)
Kicking off their customer appreciation weekend, Alstede Farms will be hosting a free family movie night! Staring at 8pm in Harvest Hall, your family can enjoy a unique location for a movie with easy access to picking up delicious ice cream or fresh produce!
- July 21: TBD
We will be updating this list as more unique summer movie experiences are released. If you know of a unique outdoor movie near you, please let us know and we will check it out!