Unique Outdoor Summer Movie Experiences in NJ

Updated for 2018!

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:

2018 Unique Outdoor Summer Movie Experiences

ZOO-VIES, West Orange 

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.

  • July 11: Peter Rabbit
  • July 18: Wall-E
  • July 25: Deep
  • August 1: George of the Jungle
  • August 8: Paddington 2
  • August 15: Ratatouille
  •  August 22 : Kong: Skull Island
  • August 29 : The Jungle Book
Montclair Film Festival Presents Free Outdoor Movies, Montclair 

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 2 at Presby Iris Gardens: Beauty and the Beast
  • July 27 at Montclair Public Library: Coco
  • August 17 at Church Streets: Black Panther
SUMMER-SERIES-2018-WEB

Image Source: Montclair Film Festival

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 22, 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!

  • Jenkinson’s Movies at The Beach begin at dusk but make sure to have your lawn chair and blanket.
    • June 22: Despicable Me 3
    • June 29: The Emoji Movie
    • July 6: The Little Mermaid
    • July 13: The Incredibles
    • July 20: Cars 3
    • July 27: Frozen
    • August 3: Lego Ninjago Movie
    • August 10: Moana
    • August 17: Descendants 2
    • August 24: Disney’s Coco
    • August 31: Jumanji 2017
  • Cape May Movies on the Beach will take place every Thursday night with children’s activities beginning at 8pm and the movie at 8:30pm. (Schedule to be announced soon)
  • Seaside Heights Movies on Sunday and Tuesdays in July and August
    • July 3 – Jaws
    • July 8 – The BFG
    • July 10 – Smurfs: The Lost Village
    • July 15 – Finding Dory
    • July 17 – Moana
    • July 22 – Storks
    • July 24 – Casper
    • July 29 – The Nut Job 2
    • July 31 – Cars 3
    • August 5 – The Secret Life of Pets
    • August 7 – Despicable Me 3
    • August 12 – Hotel Transylvania 2
    • August 14 – The Emoji Movie
    • August 19 – The Lego Ninjago Movie
    • August 21 – Beauty and the Beast
    • August 26 – The Lego Batman Movie
    • August 28 – Coco
    • September 2 – Leap
    • September 4 – The Wild Life
  • Belmar Movies on the Beach begin at dusk on the 8th Avenue beach on Saturday nights.
    • July 14: Despicable Me
    • July 21: Cars 3
    • July 28: Wonder Woman
    • August 4: Coco
    • August 11: The Nut Job 2
    • August 18: The Sherlock Gnomes
    • August 25: Paddington
    • September 8: JAWS
Plein Air Cinema Series, Hamilton

This summer head to the gorgeous Grounds for Sculpture for a unique outdoor movie experience.  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!

  • September 6: The Beatles Yellow Submarine

Grounds for Sculpture

Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater, Highland Park

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!

  • July 21: ET
  • August 4: House Party
  • August 18: Isle of Dogs
  • September 1: Castle in the Sky
Applegate Farms Movies Under the Stars, Montclair 

Each year, Monica and I bring our kids to a fun movie night experience at Applegate Farms located in Upper Montclair. Before the show we enjoy 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 6:30 pm, families can enjoy activities, prizes,  and music.  The magic show begins at 7:45 pm with the following at 8:30 pm.  Don’t forget your chair!

  • June 27: Sherlock Gnomes
  • July 11: Despicable Me 3
  • July 18: Coco
  • July 25: Jumanji 2
  • August 1: Cars 3
Image Source: Applegate Farms

Image Source: Applegate Farms

Hoboken Movies Under the Stars, Hoboken 

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 13 through August 15, 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 although we only listed movies G to PG-13. 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 13: LA LA Land
  • July 11: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • July 25: The Greatest Showman
  • August 1: Isle of Dogs
  • August 8: Ferdinand*
  • August 15: Coco*
Alstede Farms, Chester

On July 20, 2018, Alstede Farms will be hosting a free family movie night! Starting at 8pm, your family can enjoy a unique location for a movie with easy access to picking up delicious ice cream or fresh produce!  The Hen House will have hot or cold food available for purchase. The movie shown will be Disney’s Coco.

Drive-In Theater

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.

Circle Drive-In

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.

Soon to be updated!

OSPAC, West Orange (To be Updated)

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.

Anchor Golf Center Outdoor Movie Night, Whippany (To be Updated)

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.

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!

Past Events:

Kip’s Castle Park, Verona 

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 8 and June 15, 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 8 : Beauty and the Beast
  • June 15 : Mary Poppins

Kips Castle

If you like this post, you might like:

Activities for Outdoor Movies

Free Kids Summer Movies at Kinnelon Cinemas

Kids Summer Movie Series

The Count Basie Theatre

17 Comments

  1. These sounds great. I love outside movies in the summer. These are definitely ones I will keep in mind if my family is ever in the area.

  2. Valerie Quinn

    Great info Jess!
    Don’t forget to check your local municipalities for free movie Nights. Like the “Hopatcong Municipal Alliance” on Facebook we will be having two or three this summer dates and movies to be announced. Always free and all are welcome.
    The Warwick Drive-In is awesome and always has a Groupon too 😉

    • Jessica Lopa

      Yes!! Many towns offer FREE movies all summer long! We love the events run by the Hopatcong Municipal Alliance. Thank you for all you do for the community:)

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