It’s summer in NJ which means for a limited time, you can screen free outdoor movies. Make it a date night under the stars. Or, bring the family for a picnic. Either way, these Garden State venues offer viewing options of all kinds. There are showings of Oscar flicks in the sand. PG motion pictures playing on the field. Here’s our guide to where you can watch free outdoor movies in NJ this summer.
1. Hoboken’s Movies Under the Stars
Hoboken’s annual Movies Under the Stars returns this year with screenings at both Pier A. Park and Jackson & 7th St. Park. Showings at Pier A. Park began on June 16 and will continue to air on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. through July and between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in August. As always, it’s BYO blankets, low-back chairs and picnic baskets. In the case of inclement weather, screenings will be canceled.
You can find the full schedule of showings here.
2. Union County’s Family Fun & Flix
Union County’s Family Fun & Flix will kick off July 13 at Warinanco Park in Roselle, New Jersey. Their debut showing is of Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Through the end of August, Union County will be presenting free outdoor movies every Tuesday in multiple NJ venues. The showings will begin at dusk and attendees are encouraged to come early to claim their spot with a blanket or lawn chair.
You can find the full schedule of movie showings and their locations here.
3. The Ridgewood Guild’s Movies in the Park
Complimentary Ben & Jerry’s? Yes, please! The free outdoor movies at Memorial Park in Ridgewood, NJ come with a sweet bonus. Just be sure to arrive about 30 minutes before showtime if you plan on snagging some ice cream. That being said, you can catch The Ridgewood Guild’s Movies in the Park on Wednesday nights from now through the rest of the summer. Rain dates are the next night for each film.
You can find the lineup of movies and their start times here.
4. Jenkinson’s Movies on the Beach
Aside from playing host to boardwalk-goers, Jenkinson’s will be hosting their summer movie series on the beach. The program will run all summer long, beginning on Tuesday, June 29 and ending on August 31. As of now, the lineup boasts iconic PG-rated films such as “The Lion King” and “Grease” to name a few.
You can find the full schedule of movie showings here.
5. ‘80s Mixed Tape Outdoor Movie Series in Ocean Grove
If you’re a true movie buff then you know that the 1980s resulted in some quintessential films. From “Footloose” to “Hairspray,” you can catch these nostalgic flicks and more in Ocean Grove. The free outdoor movies at the Jersey Shore Arts Center North Parking area feature live, pre-show music and food concessions available for purchase. Seating will begin at 7:30 p.m. and since space is limited, you must register to attend.
To register and view the full lineup, click here.
6. Montclair Film Summer Series Under the Stars
Every year, Montclair Film hosts its Summer Series with movies under the stars. The event kicks off on June 26 at 7 p.m. at Lackawanna Plaza. There will be a showing of a drag comedy classic from the ‘90s, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” presented by Out Montclair.
The next screening will take place on July 17 and is a 20th-anniversary celebration of “Shrek” which will be shown at Brookdale Park. On August 21, interested guests can head to Anderson Park to watch “Dirty Dancing.” All venus will open at 7 p.m. and the showings will begin at sundown. Parties are welcome to bring food, drinks, chairs and blankets.
7. Jersey City “Movies in the Park”
Want to catch some Oscar-nominated motion pictures this summer? Jersey City’s Movies in the Park program offers free outdoor screenings across multiple public parks. The series runs from June through August and includes films such as “Minari,” “Black Panther” and “Jumanji.” Movies will start around 8:30 p.m. or at sundown.
You can find the full schedule of citywide showings here.
8. Brick SummerFest Drive-In Movie Series
SummerFest is finally returning to Windward Beach Park and they’re hosting a ton of free events such as a summer concert series and car show. Among their family-friendly activities is a line-up of drive-in movies that will air every Friday night in August. Showings, which will start at dusk, include the likes of “Back to the Future” and “The Avengers.”
“We are thrilled that SummerFest will be returning to Windward Beach Park this July,” said Mayor Ducey. “We expect this year’s SummerFest to be one of–if not the–best attended yet.”
View the Brick Township SummerFest schedule here.
9. Pier Village Summer Movie Series
Catch a sweet flick and dine alfresco while you do it? That’s one way to enjoy the summer movie series in Long Branch. Inside Pier Village, guests can bring a chair or blanket and post-up on the grassy Festival Plaza while screenings play on a giant outdoor cinema. Or, you might be wise to reserve a table at a nearby restaurant and view the feature film from there. All showings will start at dusk and take place on Wednesday nights through July and August.
View the summer movie series lineup here.
10. Barnegat Drive-In Movie Series
Free outdoor movies on the dock at 427 E. Bay Ave. in Barnegat, NJ have returned! Their drive-in film series kicked off in May and will continue through October. Along with family-friendly showings such as “Cars” and “Wall-E” goers can also screen “Jaws” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The movies will begin around 8 p.m. and if you need a snack, food trucks will be offering refreshments for purchase.
For updates and more, click here.
11. Warren Township “Summer Movies Under the Stars”
Enjoy a picnic-style movie experience with the whole family at this outdoor cinema in Warren Township. Their Summer Movies Under the Stars series takes place at Warren Municipal Field Area and features a 24-foot big screen. Screenings will take place at 8 p.m. on July 17 and at 7 p.m. on September 25. Food from Oink and Moo BBQ will be available. Money raised will go towards supporting local organizations, clubs and charitable causes. Food donations will also be accepted.
More information can be found here.
12. Cape May Movies on the Beach
If you’re in the Cape May area this summer, catch free movie screenings on the beach every Thursday night in July and August. Films will air at 8:15 p.m. at Gurney Street Beach next to the Cape May Convention Hall. BYO beach chairs or blankets are encouraged.
Check out Cape May city’s Facebook page for updates.
13. The Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater
Want to attend a double feature? Or a post-screening Q&A with a director? The Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater offers an impressive movie-going experience for attendees. They’ve got a vintage lineup of motion pictures and cartoons, to be viewed from Highland Park’s municipal parking lot. Chairs are available but in limited quantities. The outdoor theater runs from May through September 4.
For movie showings, click here.
14. Beachwood Movies in the Park
After Beachwood’s Movies in the Park took a pause last year, it returned for the 2021 season on June 11. This program runs on Friday nights through October 15. Expect outdoor showings with a concession stand and kid-friendly activities. Everything from face painting to character appearances.
For movie showing updates, click here.
15. Avalon Movies on the Beach
On Tuesday nights from June 29 through August 24 you can watch a movie on Avalon’s 30th Street Beach. Goers will want to show up just before dusk and come up a beach chair or blanket in hand. Some notable titles that will be screened this summer include “Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse” and “Karate Kid.”
Check out the full lineup of movies here.
16. Family Movie Nights in Downtown Wildwood
At Byrne Plaza in Downtown Wildwood, you can find movie showings Tuesday nights from June 29 to August 24. Enjoy free parking and go early to check out the area’s shops, restaurants and bars. The screenings will start between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to order takeout or have dinner and a picnic at the Plaza. Seating is BYO.
The movie schedule with titles and times can be found here.
17. Thrilling Thursdays in Margate
A beachfront movie sounds like the perfect way to spend a Thursday night down the shore. From July 1 through August 26, films will be shown at 7 p.m. on the beach behind the Martin Bloom Pavilion. Rain dates will be on Friday and featured movies include “The Goonies,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” and more.
For more information on Margate’s Thrilling Thursdays, see here.
18. Sea Isle City Classic Movies Under the Stars
Feeling nostalgic? Then head to a showing of classic, family-friendly movies under the stars in Sea Isle. This program is offered on Wednesday nights from July 7 to September 1. The screenings will start at dusk at Excursion Park. Don’t forget a blanket and chairs.
You can view the full lineup of movies here.
19. Movie Nights on the Green
Inside Palmer Square in the heart of Princeton, NJ will be an outdoor cinema set up starting on July 9. The Movie Nights on the Green series kicks off with a screening of “Sing.” This will conclude on August 13 with a showing of “The Mighty Ducks.” Goers are welcome to dine outdoors beforehand at one of Princeton’s many restaurants. Or, bring their food to Palmer Square. Chairs and blankets are BYO.
Check out the Palmer Square events calendar for dates and titles.
20. Moonlit Movies in South Orange
Throughout the month of August, South Orange will be hosting three moonlit movie nights. The flicks will be shown on Wednesday nights from August 11 to August 25. These include “Frozen 2,” “Onward” and “Jumanji: The Next Level.” Screenings will begin at 8 p.m. at Floods Hill in Meadowland Park. Goers are expected to bring their own chairs and blankets.
For more on the South Orange Summer Nights program, click here.
Will you be visiting any of these NJ venues with free outdoor movies? Let us know in the comments below.
Main photo by Waldemar Brandt
About the Author/s
Abby is The Digest's Managing Editor. She spends her time looking at dogs on Instagram and eating her way around Jersey City.