Every spring my husband and I try to get to his hometown stomping grounds of northern San Diego. We throw on snow boots just to get to the airport, then switch them out for sneakers, and leave our thick winter coats in the truck for our return (spring in Michigan still equals snowstorms, naturally).
Our suitcases rumble over the ice and snow, and you can practically hear the waves crashing as we make our way… except, sadly, not this year. Nor last year, because, you know, pandemic. So it’s safe to say I’m feeling the winter blues as I mourn our spring getaway for the second year. But in good spirits, I’ve decided to peruse the internet for what I would be packing, and it has me looking ahead to the future with hope!
California Dreamin’: A San Diego Packing List
When packing for San Diego, there are a few key things I always include: slip-on sandals, a light coat and a bathing suit (for under our wetsuits, as the weather always seems to be a mixed bag). The rest of my suitcase is filled with cozy athletic apparel — because one of my favorite parts about north county SD is how everyone wears Lululemon around the clock — and a bunch of dresses with oversized sweaters to throw over!
My packing list is always simple and comfortable, and includes items that can easily transition from the coffee shop to the beach to a restaurant for dinner. It’s actually a very lovely way to live!
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1 | Ribbed Dress – This is the perfect style of dress to wear while it’s sunny and warm, and then to throw a sweater on over for the sunset. Packing these in multiple colors is usually a great idea!
2 | Neon Lights Sweater – The perfect oversized sweater for dresses like the one above! A neutral color and oversized silhouette is so beachy in all the right ways, too.
3 | Sunglasses – Never go to Sunny San Diego without a good pair of sunnies (or two)!
4 | Boater Hat – I LOVE boater hats, and this color would be gorgeous next to the ocean.
5 | Jeans – Having a loose pair of jeans is always a good idea for cooler days.
6 | Shoulder Bag – Love how simple and chic this shoulder bag is, and I feel like it would go with anything!
7 | Birkenstocks – Slip-on sandals are a must. We often leave our shoes in the car for morning beach walks, and it’s nice to just slip them back on, even with a bit of sand, once we’re back to the car!
8 | Luggage – It’s been so long since I’ve been able to travel that I’m already dreaming of new luggage.
9 | Rash guard – Rash guards are perfect for warm sunny surf sessions (or we go full wetsuit when it’s colder). I’m seriously missing the waves now!!
10 | Lounge top – The perfect set for the plane!
11 | Lounge bottoms – These bottoms match the top above; it always makes me feel more put together when I wear a matching set through the airport.
12 | Swim top – This full coverage top looks supportive and perfect for tanning, but also for underneath your wetsuit or rash guard.
13 | Swim bottoms – Love the high rise of these!
14 | Lounge jumpsuit – Athleisure apparel is pretty much all I see walking around in North County SD, so a jumpsuit like this (or a staple pair of leggings) is what I wear the most when I’m there! Oh, the joy of beach towns!
Shop My San Diego Packing List!
Here’s to dreaming of where we’ll go next…
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Oh, this one hits me where it hurts. I grew up in east county San Diego, and my husband grew up in Pasadena, and at least twice a year we head down to Newport Beach to stay with his dad and see his siblings. My packing list is similar to yours, all easy, casual stuff. The heavy coats get left in the car, and a thin leather jacket and a hoodie are all I need to bring with. We were supposed to go down last Feb to San Diego to see my mom and brother and then my youngest came down with the flu 2 days before we were supposed to leave. And then pandemic. I was hoping we would make it down this summer but we’re not going anywhere until the kids get vaccinated. Fingers crossed for Christmas…
“because one of my favorite parts about north county SD is how everyone wears Lululemon around the clock” #guilty ~You are making me homesick! We left north county in July for a couple of years abroad…missing that socal sunshine right about now! Hope you make it there soon:)
Ha! My husband and I are both San Diego natives now living in Michigan and many a year, we would fly back for a week in February with the family. (We didn’t go the last two years and are filled with deep regret). The flight would be filled with folks dressed as per this packing list. Meanwhile, my family would be shivering in the 60 degree weather and wearing their heaviest fleece (no wool in CA!) and their “winter” boots. I always have to remind myself that houses in San Diego have minimal insulation and heat and nights can be very chilly. Bring your warm jammies, socks and, yes, fleece!