Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel

San Francisco Summer Packing List

San Francisco Summer Packing List

We’re headed to San Francisco on our summer vacation next month and I’m so excited! Even though I’ve taken a few business trips to San Fran in recent years, it’s been a VERY long time since I visited as a tourist. Back then I was a college student, still living in England, and stopped off during a summer spent traveling around Canada and America’s west coast. I fell in love with the city and have wanted to go back and see it again properly ever since.

It’s probably fair to say that this is going to be quite a different experience. Not only am I considerably older and wiser (ahem!), but this time I’ll be accompanied by my husband and no less than four children (my two littles and  teen/tween step daughters). You can imagine the logistics involved!

(Read my top tips for surviving long flights with infants and toddlers here).

So, we have A LOT to plan and I wanted to get started on my packing list early, especially since San Francisco is not the easiest to dress for.

Typically when we think of California, we imagine warm temps and sunshine all year round. But that’s not necessarily the case for San Francisco, which has it’s own climate. Although we’ll be there in summer, the temperature can fluctuate a lot – anywhere from the mid-60s F up into the 80s F.

Not only that, but it gets very hot outside of the city, so we have to be prepped for our day trips too.

I put together this round-up of what I plan on taking. Some I already have, along with a few things that are on my wish-list (any excuse!). My aim is to pack light and take a capsule wardrobe type approach, including lots of versatile, mix and match items.

San Francisco Summer Packing List

Since we’re traveling with kids, and not expecting to go anywhere fancy (waah!) my whole look will be pretty casual.

  • In San Francisco, layers are a necessity, so I’ll definitely be bringing a lightweight jacket and a couple of cardigans/sweaters. Also this classic chambray shirt, which is such a great layering piece.
  • It’s been blazing hot here in Atlanta for the last couple of months, and as much as I love my shorts and sundresses, part of me misses my jeans! So I’ll pack one or two pairs. I’ve had my eye on these high-waisted white jeans for a while now.
  • I’ll pack a few basic t-shirts and tanks – anything that doesn’t require ironing, along with my favorite denim shorts for the warmer days.
  • Lastly, a cute easy dress like this one, and possibly a romper or jumpsuit if there’s room.

As for the accessories…

  • One of the things I love about San Francisco is that it’s so walkable. I don’t even mind all the hills 🙂 I’m not always the most practical when it comes to my footwear, but I’ll be packing some comfy shoes for certain. These slide sandals have memory foam in the soles and it’s like walking on clouds!
  • A roomy bag is a must. My trusty cognac tote goes everywhere with me and matches almost every outfit. It’s also great for the airplane and has plenty of space for all my essentials, plus baby wipes, snacks etc.
  • Finally, I’ll throw in a straw hat – it gets windy in SF and I’m expecting to have messy hair half the time, so this might help disguise it!

San Francisco Summer Packing List

#1 Field jacket // #2 Fedora hat // #3 Denim shorts // #4 White jeans // #5 Sunglasses // #6 Bucket bag //
#7 Slide sandals // #8 Sweater // #9 Earrings // #10 Tank top // #11 Red t-shirt // #12 Stripe dress //
#13 Grey t-shirt // #14 Scarf // #15 Cardigan // #16 Necklace //#17 Chambray shirt // #18 Sneakers //
#19 Tote bag


Have you visited the San Francisco area? What did you do there and what did you love most? I’d love to hear your recommendations.


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  • Reply Laura

    loving this style guide for packing for SF. I hope you are able to hit up some wineries as well!! Turnbull has my ABSOLUTE fave rose.

    July 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm
    • Reply Polly

      Thanks Laura… would LOVE to visit a winery or two, although the kids might not necessarily approve! ?

      July 7, 2018 at 6:51 pm

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