By Jennifer Luther | One of the better things about Beaufort is that we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the family friendly Highway 21 Drive In anytime we want. With less than 400 remaining in the country, drive-ins are part of our American culture and have given many of us memories that have lasted a lifetime.
Personally, my earliest memory of the drive in was when I was around 7 years old and so excited. I remember pulling in from Highway 21 we could see the big screen and would almost burst with excitement. I remember visiting the concession stand for a delicious treat. It was all so exciting. We would count the stars and cuddle close to stay warm; it was one of the best experiences of my childhood.
I can’t tell you what movies we saw, or exactly what we ate, but I can tell you that even now, more than 20 years later I remember the important things. There aren’t many other experiences I can think of that match going to the drive in with your family, and thankfully today I can do it all again with my own little girl. And, that’s got to be the best part of it all.
The Highway 21 Drive In, located at 55 Parker Drive near MCAS Beaufort, is one of only two working Drive In Theaters in the entire state of South Carolina. They offer two large screens and typically play four different movies every night, two on each screen. There is more than enough parking to accommodate everyone comfortably and now that they use your own car radio for sound, you never have to leave the comfort of your own vehicle if you don’t want to.
Being family friendly means making sure there’s enough for the kids to have some fun. Near one of the screens you’ll find two swing sets they can play on before movie time and there’s a sizable play area aptly named ‘toddler town’ attached to the concession stand with a sand box and a toddler friendly play set.
The concession stand boasts a wide variety of snacks, meals, and useful items including bug spray and mosquito coils. There’s also an enclosed patio outside the stand with tables perfect for enjoying a meal with your family before the show starts.
Being family friendly also means being budget friendly. In addition to your traditional popcorn and soda, the Highway 21 Drive in offers full meals and a few specialty items at great prices. For the typical cost of a soda at any other theater you can get a burger or chicken sandwich meal. The meal includes your sandwich of choice, fries and a drink. While both are delicious, and so are the fries I might add, the burger is a local favorite. Its 1/3lb of Angus Beef cooked just right and served with all the trimmings.
If a sweet treat is more your style then you’ll be thrilled to find they make funnel cakes to order. You can take it all the way to sundae-town with two scoops of ice cream on top, covered in chocolate and caramel drizzle. (Oh yes they did!) You can even kick it old school with a good old fashioned root beer float.
“We’re family owned and operated and we’re hands-on making sure your family has a great experience,” said owner Joe Barth. “We love our drive in and are happy to be a part of the community.”
When the movies aren’t playing, the Highway 21 drive In is home to fundraisers, car shows and a variety of other fun. They’ve hosted a live Jimmy Buffet Simulcast Concert and we were told that they soon plan to open up wide with lots of other community events.
It’s definitely the perfect local spot to have an amazing night even on a small budget. So, the next time you’re looking for something fun and out of the ordinary to do in the evening, go see our friends at the Highway 21 Drive In. You’ll be glad you did.
The food is so good that the line at the concession stand is often long, so if you plan to stop in there before the show give yourself plenty of time. Also, make sure you get there early, no matter what, so you don’t miss the beginning of your movie.
If you don’t bring bug spray, it’s available at the concession stand.
Highway 21 Drive In, 55 Parker Drive, Beaufort (843) 846-4500. Open Friday through Sunday until Memorial Day, then 7 days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Admission: Adult – $7, Military/Senior – $6, Kids (5-12) – $3
Check them out on Facebook to find upcoming weekly movies and also special events.
Have some fun. Support a local Beaufort business. Make a memory.