What to Pack for California: City, Mountain, Beach, Desert

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Growing up in Los Angeles was a great location from which to explore the West Coast, including California. From farms to cities, surf to snow, mountains to lakes, and volcanoes to deserts, this submit has so much to offer ! Keep interpretation to learn more about what to pack for California !

What to Pack for California

Table Of Contents

The most popular destinations in California include: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the epic poem PCH ( Pacific Coast Highway ) road travel along the gorgeous coastline .
Let ’ s not forget our beautiful national parks like Big Sur and Yosemite or the family-friendly theme parks in Southern California .
You can spend your whole vacation visiting this stallion department of state or equitable a weekend break exploring one of the places mentioned above. ( Click any of the above destinations in crimson for packing tips specific to that area. )

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Clothing Style

generally speaking, anything goes in California. You can dress however you want, practically wherever you want. Each area has its own personality and each city is filled with a assortment of characters, but one thing ’ mho for sure : Californians are pretty easy-going .
just like our attitude, our clothing is also casual and laid back. Denim is an everyday raw material, sneakers and impudent flops are normal, and the way these items are worn will vary from person to person .

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The biggest matter to think about when you plan what to pack for California is the weather. This is an expansive state with a divers ecosystem and weather conditions .
careless of what time of year you visit or which activities you have in memory : expect to experience a variety of weather throughout the state.

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Don ’ t make the mistake I made when I traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco for exercise in November many years ago and encountered a less than cheery welcome .
Always check the weather forecast before you go. Once you ’ ve researched the weather, you can focus on creating a travel capsule wardrobe, which should well fit in a carryon bag with the aid of packing cubes to compress your clothing .

  • In January, the average high in Los Angeles is a sunny 68°F, but it’s a crisp 58°F in San Francisco.
  • In July, the average high in Los Angeles is a steamy 83°F but it’s a comfortable 72°F in San Francisco.

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Remember, the weather will also vary depending on where you’re visiting:

  • Heading to the desert for Coachella Music Festival in April? Expect +100°F temps in the day and a massive drop to 50°F in the night.
  • Making a weekend out of Southern California theme parks? It will probably be sunny year round, but you’ll need a sweater or hoodie in the evenings no matter how warm it was during the day.
  • Planning a surf trip in sunny San Diego? Know that the coast is always about ten to twenty degrees cooler than inland areas.
  • Eager to enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks in the San Francisco Bay? Don’t be surprised if you can’t see them due to the cold fog.
  • Always dreamed of a getaway in Lake Tahoe? Ski in the snowy wonderland in the winter and paddleboard in the lovely lake in summer.

If you’re visiting only one destination in California, check the weather specifically for that position, and if you ’ ll be making several stops on your trip, check the weather for all of them !

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due to the variation in weather and types of destinations, plan to pack layers. The below tips are based on city travel. here ’ s our California national park packing list .


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What to Pack for California: Summer

In summer, design for hot weather clothe plus light layers suitable for a cool jump day. Think sundress, sneakers, and a jean crown for San Diego, and then add leggings and a light sweater as you make your direction north .
For the most part, the weather ’ sulfur cheery but dry and you ’ ll find that it ’ randomness much cool by the beach than inland. Throw a denim jacket, cardi, or hoodie in your bag before you head out sightseeing for the sidereal day .

Jeans | Sleeveless Top | Jacket | Boots | Scarf

What to Pack for California: Spring / Autumn

In spring/autumn, plan for cheery days with warmly layers to keep you toasty when the temperature drops at night. Because of the cheery weather year round in Southern California, don ’ triiodothyronine forget to bring sunscreen and sunglasses any time you visit .
Think tight-fitting jeans, ankle boots, and a sleeveless top for day, and add a scarf plus leather jacket at night. This is a great prison term to visit this state !

Sweater | Jeans | Raincoat | Thermal | Boots

What to Pack for California: Winter

In winter, expect the sun and rain. The northern part of the submit tends to see more rain than the south but some weeks ( or good a few days ) can get quite wet in San Diego and Los Angeles, besides .
Think cheeseparing jeans, mid-tall boots, and a abruptly sleeve to long sleeve top. Depending on how cold and rainy it is during the sidereal day and/or nox, bring either a regular coat plus a warm layer to wear underneath .

This position on how to stay affectionate in cold upwind is actually inspired by Los Angeles residents who have a aflutter breakdown when the temperature drops under 50°F. ( Hey, I can say that. I ’ m from LA ! )

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Travel Tips and Other Essentials

One of the best ways to explore California is by taking a road trip. I ’ d indicate flying into San Francisco and out of Los Angeles or San Diego or vice versa to make the most out of your prison term and money .
When planning what to pack for California on a road trip, bring these essentials. If camping ’ s an option, take a look at my Jucy Campervan recapitulation .
even if you ’ re not planning a road stumble, a car rental is a convenient way to explore major destinations particularly when you want to pack in american samoa many activities as possible on one tripper .
I love renting a car with Alamo, specially because they have a superintendent easy self check-in and free shuttle at the airport. I ’ ve used them to reserve rentals in LA on three different occasions immediately for a total of six weeks. I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate recommend them adequate. Book here !

gratuity : It ’ mho illegal to drive while talking on the call so bring headphones or grab a bluetooth headset .

Hotels are pretty expensive and motels under $ 100 can be a act chilling, so one of the best accommodation options is Airbnb. Rent a secret house for the cost of a hotel room and see what it ’ s like to be a local. You can besides find hostel beds from $ 30- $ 50 per person nox. I book them with HostelWorld .
For more inspiration, read this travel guide on California ’ second Best Trips, but for the most thorough details, take a count at region guides for Northern and Southern California .

What are your tips on what to pack for California? Comment below!

For more USA packing lists, please read:

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