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Great Date Escapes: Goochland Drive-In

This Central Virginia gem is a great outdoor adventure for couples and friends

MAY 2022


TRAVEL TIDBIT: Though old-fashioned in spirit, the drive-in accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay at kiosks. (Photos by: Jim Robertson)

It’s not often that the operator of a drive-in theater refers to himself as chief executive dreamer. But listen to John Heidel talk about his passion for the Goochland Drive-In Theater, you’ll understand where he is coming from.

“With the support of my wife, it was the culmination of a dream to make a drive-in theater for the 21st century, to keep that old-fashioned flavor, but still keep it affordable,” Heidel says of the drive-in built in 2009. “For the last 13 years, for the folks growing up in this area, a drive-in is just a normal thing to them.”

The drive-in, which can handle 300-plus cars, is located just off Interstate 64 about halfway between Richmond and Charlottesville. Its 2022 season opened on April 1, and it’ll be open mainly on weekends until school lets out. Selected weeknight events will be added after that. Tickets go on sale at 7 p.m. on Mondays; movies are usually announced four to seven days in advance. Check the drive-in’s website and Facebook page for details.

The dreamer is not finished dreaming. At one time, the U.S. boasted about 5,000 drive-in theaters; now that number has dwindled to 300 or so. The Goochland theater is ranked in the top 10 and Heidel is always striving for improvement.

“Fan feedback is critical to that, as well as employee feedback. The world is always a crazy place, but when you come to the drive-in, no matter whether you are rich or poor, it’s an affordable night out and you can forget about all the troubles of the world.”

4344 Old Fredericksburg Road | Hadensville, VA 23067 GOOCHLANDDRIVEINTHEATER.COM