I always love a trip to Southern California and am grateful to have visited the area many times. Palm Springs is the perfect escape from dreary New York winters, and also makes the perfect springtime getaway (Coachella, anyone?) Think mid-century architecture, towering palm trees, pops of color, luxurious pools, and the perfect amount of kitsch. At just under two hours by car, I often find myself tacking on days in LA following a trip to Palm Springs to continue soaking up the sunshine. For me, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as Vitamin D, the sound of the ocean and reading a book pool-side.
If you’re packing for Palm Springs or LA, I’m sharing all my Southern California packing essentials to look effortlessly chic in the heat.
California Packing List
The breeziest summer dress! I love this style of slip dress (the adjustable straps are a huge bonus), especially in lightweight linen for those hot California days.
One of my absolute favorite summer dresses in airy cotton poplin. I sized up to an 8.
One of my favorite tops from the past couple of years.
These high-rise, straight leg jeans have quickly become one of my favorite pairs, and under $100!
Sun safety but make it chic! I love the classic silhouette of this woven wide brim hat – perfect for the pool, beach, or running around town.
The Agolde Parker shorts are my absolute favorites, year after year. You can also shop them here.
This adorable straw bag has quickly become one of my summer go-tos, plus I love that you can even fold it flat for packing. Other bags I’m loving include this straw tote, this chic woven purse, and this affordable double strap basket bag.
Don’t forget a pair of sunnies! These are one of my favorites – I love the slightly more modern silhouette. These affordable Le Spec sunnies are also another favorite.
These cognac leather slides are a summer staple and instantly dress up any outfit, from a tank top and denim shorts to sundresses.
10. Veja Sneakers
These white sneakers go well with dresses, leggings, and jeans. It makes them a great casual sneaker to travel with to wear with nearly everything in my luggage.
I always pack workout clothes for hikes and walks! These leggings are a favorite pair. See All My Favorite Leggings.
12. Leather Jacket
This leather motorcycle jacket is great for cooler nights or dressing up a simple t-shirt and jeans.
A swimsuit is a Palm Spring essential! This is such a flattering swimsuit and therefore one of my go-tos.
. . .
Also packing this Commando underwear that helps hold everything in. It’s my secret weapon under spring and summer dresses! Even more of what I am packing into my suitcase can be shopped below.
Need more travel advice? Don’t miss All My Travel Essentials.
Travel Packing Tips For a California Trip
Like most trips, I try to pack a lot of versatile items so I can easily mix and match pieces to avoid overpacking. Depending on where you are California the weather can be extremely fickle – cool in the morning, hot in the middle of the day, then freezing at night. Layers are your friend and don’t forget to pack a light jacket. I also find California style to be a bit more laid back than NYC. Think minimal jewelry, classic and breezy silhouettes, and neutral colors. My California packing essentials also include high quality SPF (read more about why I switched to mineral sunscreen), a packable reusable bag (California is notoriously eco-conscious), and my trusty HydroFlask.
Shop the Post
Also in My Suitcase