Beaufort’s Highway 21 Drive-In

Watch movies on the big screen at this Lowcountry landmark.

Every spot is a good one at the Highway 21 Drive-in. Photo by Andrew Dishman.

Fall is the perfect season to load the kids and head over to the Beaufort Highway 21 Drive-In. There’s nothing more nostalgic than watching an outdoor movie on one of their two big screens. This Beaufort landmark has been around since 1978.  The following decades brought much success for the theater. Beaufort has seen two indoor movie theaters come and go, but the drive-in is still going strong!

Four movies play every weekend. Photo by Brand New Day.

During the 1950’s, there were more than 70 drive-ins located in the state. Presently, there are only three in the state – The Plaza 21 Drive-in Theatre, the Auto Drive-in, and The Monetta Drive-in Theatre. The drive-in was updated to a digital format in 2012. No longer do you need to attach speakers to your open windows. Sound it transmitted by simply tuning into a radio station. FM Radio is used to broadcast the sound for the movies.

Don’t forget the blankets so you can get comfy. Photo by Joe Pigston.

The Highway 21 Drive-In has a 500-car capacity, so don’t worry about finding a place to park. Come early for the best spot. Two, 80-foot screens show double features. During the winter and fall, the Highway 21 Drive-in is generally open Thursday thru Sunday nights. They expand to 7 nights a week during peak spring and summer months. The concession stand menu is rather extensive, offering goodies like hamburger baskets, pulled pork, funnel cakes, root beer floats and, of course – popcorn.  If you don’t want to miss too much of the movie, you can place your order online and they will let you know when your goodies are ready for pickup. This is very convenient on busy or cold nights. You can even order your tickets online.

You can order concessions in person or place your order digitally for faster service.
Photo by Dan Reger.


Don’t forget to pack blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, and pillows to get comfortable. Sitting outside under the Lowcountry stars is one of the main attractions of the drive-in. If you plan to sit outside your car, it might be a good idea to bring a radio to listen to the sound.

Drive-in movies are meant to be seen with camp chairs, pillows and blankets.
Photo by Scott Parrish.

Another good tip is to know how your lights work and how to turn them off before you get to the drive-in. Most new cars have lights that stay on for certain periods of time after the vehicle is stopped. Others have interior lights that remain on while there is a door or hatch that is open. Make sure to read your vehicle’s manual and know how to turn all of these off once the movie starts.

Truck beds provide optimal accommodations for drive-in movie viewing. Photo by Seth Hansen.

Make sure to bring everything you need for an evening outside. Don’t forget the bug repellant. It’s also a good idea to bring along a sweatshirt in case the weather cools off after sunset. One of the greatest aspects of coming to the drive-in is that you can spend the whole movie socializing with your friends, so pack the car and come on over!

There’s plenty of room to social distance at the Highway 21 Drive-in. Photo by Nathan Evans.

Dress comfortably and take a little idea from my parents (once upon a time, long, long ago) Dress the kiddos in their pajamas, because they’re comfy and, chances are, they’ll be asleep before you get home.

The website contains an endearing message to the patrons of the Hwy 21 Drive-In that’s worth sharing: “A big thanks goes out to each and every one of you who have supported the Hwy 21 Drive-In Movie Theater during these tough times (Covid-19). We are pleased to say that because of you, we have been able to keep our doors open and movies playing. Although many upcoming movie releases have been delayed, we will be featuring a variety of old movies, recent movies, and concerts for you all to enjoy on the big screens!”

Make sure to bring your favorite cozy blanket. Photo by Courtney Brockbrader.

Going to the drive-in is it should be a relaxing, fun experience for the entire family. So – get there early, bring plenty of friends, load up on goodies from the concession stand, and enjoy a night under the stars.
Check out their Facebook page for more information and notifications regarding upcoming new releases and concerts. Visit the Highway 21 Drive-In Website to see what’s playing, order your tickets and concessions. 55 Parker Dr, Beaufort, SC 29906, (843) 846-4500.

Get there early to grab your favorite viewing spot. Photo by Dan Reger.

For more information on fun things to do in the Lowcountry, visit


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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

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