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Southern California Packing List: What Do You Need?


The area is known for beaches, theme parks, Hollywood, and great weather. With such a variety of things to do, what do you need to bring? What should be on your Southern California packing list?

What Should Be on Your Southern California Packing List?

1. Clothing

2. Accessories

3. Baby Items

4. Bathroom Essentials

5. Medications and First Aid

6. Documentation

7. Payment Methods

8. Miscellaneous Items

9. Theme Park Day Bag Packing

10. Beach Bag Packing

Jurassic Park ride in southern california

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Southern California Packing List

1. Clothing

Southern California Weather

Southern California generally has comfortable weather, but it gets both hot and cold.  Check the weather at the time of your trip.

The averages are as follows:


Average High: Low 70s

Average Low: Low 50s


Average High: High 70s

Average Low: Mid-50s


Average High: Low 90s

Average Low: Low 60s


Average High: High 80s

Average Low: Low 60s

What to Pack for California

Pro tip: Pack laundry pods and do laundry during your trip. You just cut your luggage in half.

A. Shorts 

B. T-shirts 

C. Long-sleeved shirts 

D. Pajamas

E. Socks

F. Gym shoes 

G. Sandals or flip-flops

H. Bras

I. Underwear

J. Swimwear – Two per person. Hang the wet suits in the bathroom and rotate.

K. Pants 

L. A jacket 

What Not to Pack

A. Costumes – They are hot, bulky, and unnecessary.

B. Formal wear

C. Workout gear – Unless you’re actually going to work out.

D. A sewing kit 

SEA LIFE statue in southern california

2. Accessories

What to Pack for a Trip to California

A. Ponchos 

B. Sunglasses 

C. Hats 

D. Hair ties

E. Goggles

F. Harry Potter Interactive Wand (Universal Studios Hollywood only)

G. Magic bands (Disneyland only)

H. Floaties or lifejackets – For the beach only. Hotels will likely offer them.

What Not to Pack

A. A large selection of jewelry

Disneyland Hotel in southern California

3. Baby Items

Babies require a lot of junk, but you don’t need to pack things you can get at the hotel. When in doubt, call ahead to double-check.

What to Pack for Southern California

A. Formula and baby food 

B. Bibs

C. Pacifiers

D. Sippy cups

E. Bottles

F. Diapers – Both regular and swim (but not more than you need).

G. Wipes

H. Stroller 

I. Car seat – Unless offered by your ground transportation provider.

J. Breast pump and accessories 

K. Dish soap and bottle washer

What Not to Pack

A. Pack and Play – Unless your hotel doesn’t have one, which is unlikely.

B. Baby monitor – Unless you’re in a giant room where you can’t easily hear your child.

C. High chair – Not worth it.

Secret Life of Pets exterior

4. Toiletries and Bathroom Essentials

Pro tip: Purchase travel bottles to bring your favorite products in smaller quantities.

What to Include When Packing for California

A. Toothbrush

B. Toothpaste

C. Mouthwash

D. Floss

E. Hairbrush

F. Hair styling products

G. Glasses

H. Contact solution and extra contacts

I. Face wash

J. Makeup 

K. Deodorant

L. Sunscreen

M. Razors

N. Shampoo – You only need this if it is not provided by the hotel or you need a special kind. Tear-free is probably not at the hotel.

O. Conditioner – Same criteria as the shampoo.

P. Body wash – If the hotel doesn’t provide it.

Q. Loofah

R. Cotton swabs

S. Tissue

T. Tweezers

U. Laundry detergent pods

V. Feminine hygiene products

W. Lotion – If you need a specific kind that the hotel doesn’t provide.

X. Hand sanitizer 

Y. Nail file

Z. Chapstick

What Not to Pack

A. Nail clippers – Unless you’re going on a long trip.

B. Hair dryer – Confirm this, but it is almost definitely in the room already.

C. Anything you can get from the hotel


5. Medications and First Aid

What to Pack

A. Medications

B. Medical equipment

C. Vitamins

D. Motion sickness medicine – For theme parks

E. Pain relievers – For both adults and children.

F. Thermometer 


H. Antibacterial cream

What Not to Pack

A. Full bottles of anything


6. Important Documentation

You don’t have to print these items, but ensure you can access them on your phone.

What to Pack

A. Theme park tickets

B. Airline reservation confirmations and boarding passes 

C. Hotel reservation confirmations 

D. Rental car and ground transportation reservation confirmations 

E. Identification for all travelers

F. Priority Pass card

G. Health insurance card

H. Proof of car insurance – If applicable.

I. Touring plans

What Not to Pack

A. Any unnecessary or duplicate documentation with your personal information

San Diego Natural History Museum Visitor Tips Exterior

7. Methods of Payment

What to Pack

A. Credit cards

B. Cash – Use sparingly. Cash doesn’t earn travel points.

C. Disney Visa (Disneyland only)

D. Disney gift cards (Disneyland only)

What Not to Pack

A. A lot of cash 

B. Debit card – Unless you might need to visit an ATM.

LEGOLAND Hotel exterior

8. Miscellaneous

What to Pack

A. Travel entertainment 

B. Snacks 

C. Refillable water bottle

D. Refillable cups and popcorn buckets (Theme parks only)

E. Cell phones and chargers 

F. Portable cell phone charger 

G. Cooling towels – Only if it is really hot. Check the weather.

H. Autograph book (Theme parks only)

I. Lanyard – Only if you want it to carry your theme park tickets.

J. Noise-canceling headphones – Only if your kid is freaked out by loud noises.

K. Gum 

L. LEGO Minifigures for trading (LEGOLAND only)

M. Beach toys

What Not to Pack

A. Night light – Crack the bathroom door and leave the light on.

B. Hamper – An empty suitcase is a rolling laundry basket.

C. Shoe organizer – You shouldn’t have that many shoes anyway.

D. Extra towels  

E. Pool toys

F. Cameras – Smartphones take pictures.

san diego mission bay resort hyatt regency

9. Theme Park Day Bag

A. Methods of payment

B. Identification

C. Theme park tickets

D. Touring plans

E. Cell phone and portable cell phone charger

F. Jackets – Only if needed.

G. Ponchos

H. Sunscreen

I. Motion sickness medication

J. Pain relievers

K. Hats

L. Sunglasses

M. Cooling towels – Only if needed.

N. Tissue

O. Feminine hygiene products


Q. Autograph book

R. Noise-canceling headphones

S. Refillable cups and popcorn buckets

T. Refillable water bottle

U. Baby stuff you need on a typical day

V. Lanyard

W. Gum

X. Hand sanitizer

Y. Chapstick

Z. Magic bands (Disneyland only)

AA. Disney gift cards (Disneyland only)

BB. Disney Visa (Disneyland only)

CC. LEGO Minifigures for trading (LEGOLAND only). 

what to do at legoland california dragon

10. Beach Bag Packing

A. Identification for adults

B. Cell phone and portable cell phone charger

C. Methods of payment

D. Sunscreen 

E. Hats

F. Sunglasses

G. Hand Sanitizer

H. Feminine hygiene products

I. Tissue

J. Gum and snacks 

K. Pain relievers

L. Ponchos or rain jackets 

M. Chapstick

N. Refillable water bottle


P. Beach toys 

Q. Waterproof cell phone case 

R. Baby stuff you need on a typical day

S. Change of clothes or swimsuits – If necessary depending upon what you are doing.

T. Floaties or life jackets

La Jolla Seals

Final Thoughts – Southern California Packing List

The area is beautiful, family-friendly, and filled with things to do with kids. It is worth a visit. Use this Southern California packing list to bring what you need and not what you don’t.

Visit Southern California with kids. You will not regret it.

southern california packing list pin

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