3 Smart Tips for Packing for a West Coast Vacation

packing for a west coast vacation
West Coast, best coast!

Ready to soak up the sun and surf? With the right gear and attire, you’ll be equipped to enjoy every moment of your adventure. Not sure what to take with you? We got this! From beach essentials to versatile urban attire, these tips will make packing for a West Coast vacation a breeze.

So go ahead: pack your bags, embrace the laid-back vibes, and enjoy an unforgettable journey along the “best coast.”

  • Be ready for adventures

    When you’re packing for a West Coast vacation, be prepared to spend time outside!

    From whale watching in Puget Sound to surfing in Huntington Beach, the West Coast offers endless outdoor adventures. And being equipped with the right gear will make sure that your time outdoors is safe and enjoyable.

    If you’re planning to spend time in nature, make sure you bring basic outdoor gear such as sunscreen, bug spray, a first aid kit, and a reusable water bottle.

    Then research the activities available in your area so you can include any extra necessities.

    To enjoy the beach:
    – Sunglasses and chapstick with SPF
    – Beach towel and blanket
    – Rash guard
    – A wide-brimmed hat

    To explore the mountains/forests:
    – Comfortable, broken-in hiking shoes
    – On-the-go protein snacks
    – Weather-appropriate clothes (because there’s a huge temperature difference between hiking the mountains of L.A. and exploring the forests of Portland!)

    Packing Pro Tip: The Pacific Ocean is surprisingly cold! If you’re planning to surf, paddleboard, or enjoy other aquatic activities, you might want to consider bringing a wetsuit.

  • Keep your days (mostly) chill

    That famously laid-back SoCal vibe? It extends alllll up and down the West Coast!

    So when you’re packing for a West Coast vacation, you can leave most, if not all, of your city clothes behind.

    If you’re in one of the bigger cities, such as San Francisco, opt for stylish but comfortable clothing that you can go from playing tourist to dinner.

    We’re talking athleisure basics such as yoga pants or joggers. Pair them with sleek running shoes and a matching hoodie, crop top, or other stylish shirt or sweater. Then add some accessories—scarves, sunglasses, and an “it” bag or backpack—and you’re good to go!

    You can keep it even more low-key along the beaches or in the smaller cities. Dress for comfort (and warmth, if you’re further north) with shorts, flannels, jeans, and comfy walking shoes.

    But heads up! There are some rather chic areas on the West Coast. Think Napa Valley, San Francisco, Seattle… if you want to look like a local, bump up your everyday style just a notch or two. (You’re welcome!)

  • Include evening options

    Here’s where it gets tricky.

    First, the West Coast weather is notoriously fickle. You might set off in the crisp morning air, swelter under the midday sunshine, and then be surprised by how quickly the evening cools off.

    So even if you think you’re headed to the sunny climes of, say, San Diego, you’ll definitely want to include some warmer clothing.

    The easiest solution: layers. Bring a lightweight jacket, wrap, hoodie, or whatever else keeps you feeling cozy. For cooler destinations or higher elevations, consider packing a warmer jacket or fleece for added insulation.

    And second: while it’s totally okay, and even expected, to keep your daytime style casual on the West Coast, nighttime dressing is completely different.

    Californians especially love the chance to shine, so bring on the glam for a night out on the town!

    Tickets to a show? Heading to a gallery opening? Dinner reservations? It’s not quite as formal as Boston or New York, maybe, but it’s your chance to look like a million dollars.

    So go ahead, you guys: show up and show out!

Packing for a West Coast vacation is a snap, if you follow these tips. You’ll be equipped for adventurous days and glitzy nights out on the town.

And once you’re done packing, ship your stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. For less than the price of the average checked bag, you can skip bag check lines, stroll past baggage claim, and simply enjoy every single minute of your West Coast adventure!