Here’s what I packed for week-long road trip up the California coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur in August. It’s one of my favorite places to visit for stunning scenery…
This article was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. I’ve left prior comments in place.
My travel wardrobe may look different than what you’d expect for a summer vacation near the sea. The weather this time of year along the central California coast is often cool, overcast, and even damp. (I must have been a fern in a past life, because I love it!) But if the weather should shift, I’m prepared for much warmer or cooler temperatures.
What to pack for a coastal California road trip
Almost all of our activities will be Casual to Very Casual. We’ll probably do some beach exploring and light hiking. But mostly we’re just planning to relax and take in the scenery. 🌲 🌊 🦌
My travel wardrobe details
Driving rather than flying means I’m not constrained to a specific luggage size or weight. But I still want to pack efficiently while being prepared and having options. To come up with the color scheme for this travel wardrobe, I started with my tiger print top, and then selected pieces that coordinate. (I lightened this image to better show details, so some of the colors appear brighter here than IRL.)
Starting with the shoes
- a pair of well-worn sneakers with good traction for hiking, exploring rocky beaches. Mine are a few years old; here’s a similar style.
- waterproof Birks for pool, beach, spa
- a supportive pair of walking sandals that aren’t too rugged to wear to dinner (mine are from last year, these are similar
- raffia oxfords (similar)
- two pairs of jeans, these and these (similar). An older pair I won’t mind getting dirty, and a newer one to wear in public. 😆
- a pair of undyed denim trousers (similar). Should the weather turn warmer, these will be cooler than jeans.
- navy knit pants. a little dressier than jeans, but still relaxed.
Tops & sweaters (yes, sweaters)
From left to right:
- Cotton fisherman pullover. Comfortable in a range of temperatures.
- Tees: striped (similar) and graphic (options) Will add a 3rd tee…currently in the wash.
- sleeveless shell (similar)
- tiger print top (similar styles: fun print shirt, split neck popover options)
- button front cardigan. This one’s a warmer piece, in case it gets chilly at night.
- linen blend open cardigan
- oversized cotton blazer. A nice lightweight outer layer.
- rain jacket/windbreaker (similar)
- a selection of cotton bandanas and a larger silk “Road Trip” scarf (similar)
- I’m not planning to bring much jewelry, probably a pair of simple earrings and a couple of small necklaces to layer (here and more options here).
Not shown: bathing suit, coverup, pajamas, “underpinnings.” I’ll reserve the option to add or swap out one or two “wild card” clothing pieces based on the forecast before we leave.
- I’ve also made a note to remember to pack our compact bluetooth speaker. It’s great for listening to music or podcasts in our room.
- Because I. Must. Have. Coffee. when I first wake up, and never know what the in-room coffee situation will be, I always bring a few of these instant coffee packets.
- I’ll be packing my strength bands and a cloth band, to keep up with my workouts. (The Faster Way to Fat Loss app has 30-minute daily workouts 💪 I can do from my phone.)
- Protein bars.
Are there any items you always pack for a road trip?
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