What to Pack for San Diego: The Ultimate List

May 2, 2018

As you’re preparing to jet off to San Diego, you might think to pack shorts, tank tops, sandals, and a few other essential items. Try again! Determining what to pack for San Diego depends on when you plan to visit, the activities you intend to do, and several other factors.

To help you get ready for your San Diego vacation, I’ve created the ultimate packing list complete with clothing choices, toiletries, things you’ll need for activities, and more.



Have you heard of the San Diego phrases, “May Gray” or “June Gloom?” If you thought a June getaway to San Diego would be hot and sunny, think again. While you might have a day or two of sunshine, you’re in for a shock when the cold temperatures hit.

As you figure out what to pack for San Diego from April through June, make sure layered outfits and a jacket (or two) are on the list!

If you plan to visit during July through November, expect nicer and warmer weather, but still bring a light jacket for those cool nights. November through March in San Diego sees the most drastic weather fluctuations, so be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip.

While keeping the season in mind, bring these clothing items with you to San Diego:

  • Undergarments
  • T-Shirts and Tank Tops
  • Long-Sleeved Shirts
  • Sundress
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Flip Flops or Sandals
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking Boots
  • Socks
  • Swimsuit or Wetsuit → water is chilly
  • Pajamas
  • Jacket
  • Sweater or Sweatshirts
  • Scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or Sunhat

If by chance you forget something, there are plenty of places to go shopping in San Diego.


When planning what to pack for San Diego, you should also consider where you are staying. Your hotel most likely provides complimentary bath amenities and other toiletries for your convenience. Nonetheless, these toiletries are essential for your travels:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Eyewear and Supplies
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Face Wash
  • Soap
  • Razors
  • Shaving Cream
  • Tweezers
  • Q-Tips
  • Makeup
  • Hairbrush/Comb
  • Hairdryer
  • Hair Products
  • Personal Medicines
  • Lip Balm
  • Moisturizer

Of course, if you forget any necessities at home, the front desk of your hotel is more than happy to help. They should have travel-sized supplies available for guests. If not, they’ll know where you can pick up whatever you may need.


Throughout your San Diego travels, you’ll need a few miscellaneous items to make sure your trip is perfect from start to finish. When figuring out what to pack for San Diego, make sure these gadgets and supplies make the cut.

  • Daypack or Backpack
  • Beach Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Laptop and Charger
  • Camera and Batteries/Charger
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Beach Chairs
  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Books


Packing for San Diego Activities

As you determine what to pack for San Diego, you also need to factor in what activities you have planned. From awesome fun at LEGOLAND California to going wild at the San Diego Zoo, to hiking at Torrey Pines or lounging on the beach, there is so much to do and see.

When creating your packing list, always review your travel itinerary to see what you have planned. This will influence what you decide to pack for your trip!

Top activities and destinations in San Diego include:

Going to the Theme Parks
San Diego is home to renowned theme parks including LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego. Be sure to pack sunscreen, extra cash, and appropriate attire for a thrill-filled day.

Exploring the Great Outdoors
Whether you decide to go for a hike, spend a day at the beach, or embark on a whale watching cruise, you’ll want to pack appropriately. Bring layered outfits along with any items you’ll need for your excursion.

Strolling through Museums
San Diego boasts iconic museums such as the USS Midway Museum, Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Maritime Museum of San Diego, and more. For these activities, you’ll want to pack a camera, appropriate attire, comfortable walking shoes, and your printed e-Tickets.

What to Pack for San Diego: Know Before You Go

Now that you know what to pack for San Diego, it’s time to start packing!

One final tip: Be sure to purchase, print, and pack your attraction and activity tickets before your trip. If flying to San Diego, put these tickets in your carry-on bag so they do not get lost. Purchasing your tickets ahead of time allows you to skip the lines and spend more time enjoying all that San Diego has to offer.

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