If you like watching movies under the stars—for free!—as much as we do, you're in luck: New Jersey will be showing hundreds of free films in parks and on beaches throughout the state this summer. Pack your chairs and blankets, put the kids in their PJs, and get there early to snag a good spot. Depending on the venue, you can either pack your own snacks or buy them onsite. And some events include pre-show activities such as dance parties, games, and meet-and-greets with movie characters. Don't forget the bug spray!
Scroll to the bottom of the list to find a few free (and practically free) indoor flicks—many of them shown in the morning—for those days when you just want to cool off in a nice, dark theater.
For more summer awesomeness, check out our Summer Fun Guide.
Galloway's Movies in the Park – Galloway Township
Friday, June 23
Municipal Complex on Jimmie Leeds Road
This month's movie is Sing. Snacks, pizza, and water ice will be available for purchase. Showtime is at dusk (about 9 p.m.).
Thrilling Thursdays – Margate City
Thursdays, July 6 – August 31
8100 Atlantic Avenue (Margaret City Library)
Thrilling Thursdays also include a local farmer's market, sidewalk sales, and free beach access. Movies start at 8:30 p.m.; get there early for pre-show games at 8.
Movie titles TBA.
Movies Under the Stars – Franklin Lakes
Select Wednesdays, June 28 – August 30
- Trolls, June 28
- Pete's Dragon, July 26
- Jungle Book, August 30
Movies in the Park – Ridgewood
Every other Wednesday, June 14 – August 23
Memorial Park at Van Neste Square
Most of the films in this series are for grown-ups; your best bet is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory on July 12. Movies start at sunset.
- Singin’ in the Rain, June 28
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, July 12
- Bye Bye Birdie, July 26
- Moonstruck (30th Anniversary), August 9
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, August 23
Movies on the Beach – Pemberton
Fridays, July 7 – August 25
Mirror Lake Beach
All attendees get free popcorn! Movies start at 8:30 p.m.
- Star Wars Rogue One, July 7
- Moana, July 14
- Ninja Turtles, July 21
- Sing, July 28
- Power Rangers, August 4
- Finding Dory, August 11
- Beauty and the Beast, August 18
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, August 25
Movies in Knight Park – Collingswood
Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 6 – August 24
By the Browning and Collings intersection, near the gazebo
Showtime is at dusk.
- Sing, July 6
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 11
- The Jungle Book, July 13
- Moana, July 18
- Monster Trucks, July 20
- La La Land, July 25
- Pete's Dragon, July 27
- Cinderella, August 3
- Middle School: The Worst Days of My Life, August 10
- Beauty and the Beast, August 17
- My All-American, August 24
Cape May County
Movies Under the Stars in Excursion Park.
Movies Under the Stars – Sea Isle City
Excursion Park at JFK Boulevard and Pleasure Avenue
Fridays, July 7 – September 1
- Pete’s Dragon, July 7
- The Great Gilly Hopkins, July 14
- Jungle Book, July 21
- Zootopia, July 28
- Lost and Found, August 4
- Moana, August 11
- The BFG, August 18
- Finding Dory, August 25
- Alice Through the Looking Glass, September 1
Free Movies on the Beach – Cape May
Thursdays, July 6 – August 24
Stockton Beach next to Cape May Convention Hall
Kids' activities start at 8 p.m.; showtime is at 8:30.
- The Avengers, July 6
- The Jungle Book, July 13
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, July 20
- A Christmas Story, July 27
- Grease A-Sing-Along, August 3
- Jaws, August 10
- Zootopia, August 17
- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), August 24
Movies on the Beach – Wildwood
Fridays, July 7 – August 18
Leaming Avenue Beach
No outside food or drink is permitted, but snacks will be available for purchase from a variety of vendors, including Cape May BBQ, Just Delicious Kettlecorn, and Kona Ice Cape May.
- The Boss Baby, July 7
- Trolls, July 14
- Rio, July 21
- Horton Hears a Who, July 28
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman, August 4
- The Sandlot, August 11
- Captain Underpants, August 18
Montclair Film Festival's Free Outdoor Movies – Montclair
Fridays, July 7, 21 and August 18
The eighth annual Summer Series features free movies under the stars at various locations throughout Montclair. Movies start at 8 p.m.
Free Family Movie Nights at OSPAC – West Orange
Thursdays, August 10 and 17, and Tuesday, August 22
4 Boland Drive
- Monster Trucks, August 10
- Ant-Man, August 17
- Zootopia, August 22
Zoo-vies Free Summer Movies at Turtle Back Zoo – West Orange
Wednesdays, July 5 – August 30
Parking deck rooftop
Zoo admission is not required for the movie, and concessions will be on sale. Some movie nights include visits with special guests, including a fairy, Moana, and Jane from Disney Tarzan. Movies begin at dusk.
- Disneynature African Cats (pre-show meet-and-greet with a local author), July 5
- Disney Tarzan (pre-show meet-and-greet with Jane), July 12
- The Adventures of Milo and Otis, July 19
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 26
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest (pre-show meet-and-greet with a fairy), August 2
- How to Train Your Dragon, August 9
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, August 16
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, August 23
- Moana (pre-show meet-and-greet with Moana), August 30
Family Fun Night at Applegate Farm – Upper Montclair
Wednesdays, June 29 – August 3
Family Fun Night starts at 6:30 p.m. with music, games, and a magic show. Movies start at 8:30 p.m.
- The Good Dinosaur, June 28
- Hotel Transylvania 2, July 5
- Goosebumps, July 12
- Star Wars The Force Awakens, July 19
- Cinderella, July 26
- Inside Out, August 2
Moonlit Movies – South Orange
Wednesdays, August 9, 16, 23, 30
Flood's Hill in Meadowland Park
Movies start at 8:15 p.m.
- Sing, August 9
- Grease, August 16
- Pitch Perfect, August 23
- Beauty and the Beast, August 30
Movies in the Park – Various locations throughout Gloucester County
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through August 30.
There are lots of great kid movies at these free screenings throughout Gloucester County. This year's lineup includes Moana, The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia, Finding Dory, and Sing. Check the event page for locations and movies.
Movies Under the Stars – Hoboken
Wednesdays, August 2–16
This annual tradition gets underway in June, but the kid-friendly features all happen in August. At Pier A Park, movie night includes a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. The fun starts at 7 p.m. with pre-movie kids' events, including activities led by My Gym Hoboken and a musical performance by Preschool of Rock.
- The Boss Baby, August 2, Pier A Park
- Trolls, August 9, Pier A Park
- Sing, August 16, Pier A Park
- Ice Age: Collision Course, August 21, Mama Johnson Field
- Frozen, August 30, Maxwell Place Park
Films in Van Vorst – Jersey City
Wednesdays, June 21 – September 6
Van Vorst Park
The 13th season of Films in Van Vorst has movies for grown-ups and kids. You'll find the most kid-friendly movie on July 26; the movie is TBA and will be decided by an audience poll.
- The Princess Bride, June 21
- He Named Me Malala, June 28
- Star Wars Rogue One, July 12
- Audience Poll (Lego Batman, Moana, Sing), July 26
- Lion, August 9
- Sing Street, August 23
- Hidden Figures, September 6
Movies in the Park @ Sunddown – Jersey City
June 26 – August 31
Held in parks across Jersey City
Free popcorn for all attendees!
- Sully, June 26, Boyd McGuinness Park
- The Secret Life of Pets, June 29, Bayside Park
- Angry Birds, July 10, Thomas McGovern Park
- The Wizard of Oz, July 13, Leonard Gordon Park
- Pete's Dragon, July 17, Canco Veterans Memorial Park
- Monsters University, July 20, Columbia Park
- Ninja Turtles, July 24, Audubon Park
- Space Jam, July 27, Berry Lane Park
- 101 Dalmatians (original), July 31, Ercel Web Park
- Cars, August 3, Pershing Field
- Ghostbusters (2016), August 7, Arlington Park
- Back to the Future, August 10, Riverview Park
- E.T., August 14, Harsimus Cemetery
- The BFG, August 17, Village Park
- The Wild Life, August 24, Sgt. Anthony Park
- Storks, August 31, J. Owen Grundy Pier
Free Outdoor Movie Series – North Bergen
Movies start at 8:30 p.m.
- Lego Batman, June 29, North Bergen Recreation Center
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 6, 2123 JFK Boulevard
Summer Movies on the Green – Princeton
Saunter around Palmer Square for some shopping, food, and ice cream, then enjoy a family-friendly movie on the Green. Movies begin at 8:30.
- The Parent Trap, July 14
- Moana, August 18
The Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater – Highland Park
Every other Saturday, July 1 – August 26
Municipal parking lot on Raritan Ave., between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
This series is mostly for grown-ups, but you can take the kids to see Kiki's Delivery Service on August 26. Vintage cartoons are shown before each movie.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, July 1
- Time Bandits, July 15
- Do the Right Thing, July 29
- Gimme Danger, August 12
- Kiki's Delivery Service, August 26
Free Summer Movies in Kennedy Park – Sayreville
Saturdays, July 15 and August 26
- July 15: Sing
- August 26: Moana
Movies on the Beach – Belmar
Saturdays, July 8 – September 9
8th Avenue Beach
Popcorn and refreshments will be available for purchase. Movies start at 8 p.m.
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 8
- Star Wars Rogue One, July 15
- Elf, July 22
- Lego Batman, July 29
- Sing, August 5
- Finding Dory, August 12
- Beauty and the Beast, August 19
- Moana, August 26
- Jaws, September 9
Movies in the Park – Howell
Fridays, July 14 – August 25.
Howell Library Hill, 318 Old Tavern Road
Non-perishable food items will be collected to benefit local food banks.
- Beauty and the Beast, July 14
- Moana, July 28
- A Dog's Purpose, August 11
- Power Rangers, August 25
Alstede Farms Free Movie Night – Chester
Friday, July 21
Alstede Farms kicks off Customer Appreciation Weekend with a free movie at 8 p.m. Movie TBA.
Big Screen Outdoor Movies – Morris Township
Wednesdays, June 28, July 12, 26, and Saturday, August 26
Movies start at 8:30 p.m. Come an hour early for DJ music.
- Sing, June 28
- The Jungle Book, July 12
- Lego Batman, July 26
- The Secret Life of Pets, August 26
Mendham Movies in the Park – Mendham
Wednesday, July 12, and Tuesday, August 1
Mendham offers two free outdoor movies this season, including a drive-in showing of Moana as part of its National Night Out festivities
- Frozen, July 12, near the gazebo
- Moana, August 1, drive-in movie behind the carriage house on the lower baseball field
Summer Movies in the Park – Dover
Fridays, June 30, July 28, August 26
JFK Commons Park
Music from 7:30–8 p.m., followed by the movies. Looney Tunes cartoons will be shown before each movie.
- Sing, June 30
- Finding Dory, July 28
- Moana, August 26
Movies in the Parks – Brick
Tuesdays, July 11–25
Brick hosts free movies in three parks this summer.
- The Lego Movie, July 11, Lake Riviera Park
- Spiderman, July 18, Arrowhead Park
- Madagascar, July 25, Angela Hibbard Park
Jenkinson's Movies on the Beach – Point Pleasant Beach
Fridays, June 23 – September 1
On the beach across from Jenkinson's
- The Secret Life of Pets, June 23
- Storks, June 30
- Subject to a fan vote between Ghostbusters (1984 version), The Goonies, Back to the Future and E.T., July 7
- Finding Dory, July 14
- The Lego Batman Movie, July 21
- The Jungle Book (2016 ), July 28
- Pete's Dragon, August 4
- Moana, August 11
- Sing, August 18
- Beauty and the Beast (2017), August 25
- Zootopia, September 1
Movie Night at Community Park – Point Pleasant
Fridays, July 14 and August 11
Come at dusk for a movie and treats from the concession stand.
- Jaws 2, July 14
- The Secret Life of Pets, August 11
Movies on the Beach – Seaside Heights
Sundays and Tuesdays, July 4 – August 29
Carteret Avenue oceanfront stage
The Seaside tradition returns with free movies twice a week.
- Jaws, July 4
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 9
- Big Hero 6, July 11
- The Wild Life, July 16
- Lego Batman, July 18
- Storks, July 23
- Angry Birds, July 25
- Finding Dory, July 30
- Wreck It Ralph, August 1
- Moana, August 6
- Monsters University, August 8
- Despicable Me 2, August 13
- Minions, August 15
- The BFG, August 20
- Sing, August 22
- Finding Nemo, August 27
- Beauty and the Beast, August 29
Free Summer Movies in Dunham Park – Bernards Township
Wednesdays, July 12 – August 2, 8:30 p.m.
- Lilo and Stitch, July 12
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, July 19
- Finding Dory, July 26
- Beauty and the Beast, August 2
Friday Nights at the Drive-In – Bridgewater
Fridays, July 21 and 28
Duke Island Park
The movie starts at 8:30 p.m. Popcorn and refreshments will be available.
- Trolls, July 21
- The Boss Baby, July 28
Starlit Cinema – Somerville
Thursdays, July 13 – August 17
Division Street Plaza
You get to pick the movies—voting will begin soon! Check the website for more.
Free Family Movie Nights in the Park – Sparta
Saturdays, July 15 – September 9
The fun includes DJ music, face painting and tattoos, prize drawings, and refreshments for purchase. Movies start at dusk.
- Elf, July 15
- Finding Dory, August 19
- Sing, September 9
Big Thursday: Summer Nights in Rahway – Rahway
Thursdays, July 6–27
City Hall Plaza
- Grease Sing-Along, July 6
- Finding Dory, July 13
- The Secret Life of Pets, July 20
- Lego Batman, July 27
Family Fun & Flix – Elizabeth and Springfield
Tuesdays, July 11 – August 8
Warinanco Park and Meisel Park
UC Fit Kids will lead healthy activities for kids prior to showtime, which begins at dusk.
- Finding Dory, July 11, Warinanco Park
- Storks, July 18, Warinanco Park
- Sing, July 25, Warinanco Park
- The Secret Life of Pets, August 1, Meisel Park (part of National Night Out)
- Moana, August 8, Warinanco Park
Meet some of your favorite movie characters at Screen on the Green.
Screen on the Green – Summit
Thursdays, July 20 – August 10
Come at 7:30 p.m. to take part in a family dance party and meet characters from the movies. Order dinner from Pizza Vita and other food trucks.
- Lego Batman, July 20
- The Boss Baby, July 27
- Trolls, August 3
- Captain Underpants, August 10
Friday Family Movie Night – Scotch Plains
Fridays, July 14 – August 25
- Sing, July 14
- Westside Story, August 4
- Toy Story, August 11
- A League of Their Own, August 18
- Moana, August 25
Bow Tie Cinemas Summer Kids Series – Bergenfield, Hoboken, South Orange, Montclair
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, June 20 – August 16
First-come, first-served. Movies include Storks, Trolls, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Count Basie Theatre Free Summer Film Series – Red Bank
June 21 – August 25
Reserve seats online. Movies include classics like Jaws, E.T., The Karate Kid, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, along with recent favorites including Despicable Me and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Free Kids Summer Films at CityPlex 12 – Newark
Wednesday and Thursday mornings, July 5 – August 31
Doors open at 9 a.m., movies start at 10 a.m. Seating is first-come, first-served. Movies include Home, Minions, Goosebumps, and Pan.
Marquee Cinemas Summer Movies – Toms River
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, June 27 – August 16
Movies include Kung Fu Panda 3, Kubo and the Two Strings, Trolls, and The Peanuts Movie.
Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express – Various locations
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, June 27 – August 23
At $1, these movies are practically free! The lineup includes Kubo and the Two Strings, Ratchet and Clank, The Adventures of Tintin, and Happy Feet 2.
State Theatre NJ Free Summer Movies – New Brunswick
Tuesdays, July 5 – August 8
Morning and evening screenings. The lineup includes The Incredibles, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, and Zootopia.
Check your local library for even more free indoor movies!
Originally published June 2013; updated for 2017.
Top image: Shore Flick's Free Summer Movie Series on the beach at Spring Lake. Photos courtesy of the venues.