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California is one of my favorite states to explore in the United States. For example, I’ve traveled alone to San Francisco twice, and both times I loved immersing myself into this iconic city’s unique culture, neighborhoods, and culinary scene.
Furthermore, last year, I had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time in Northern California in June. I drank wine, ate locally, swam in wave pools, learned history, and so much more. California truly is a fantastic destination for every type of traveler out there. Love it.
And June? Oh man. What a wonderful time of the year to visit! The weather was perfect for sightseeing despite a bit of fog over the Bay, which, hey, is a normal part of the San Francisco experience, so I can’t complain much.
I wanted to put together this packing list for California in June to help anyone else planning a trip to this massive state.
Because honestly? Packing for California isn’t always easy. The state is big. Very big. What’s suitable for a trip to Los Angeles in June probably isn’t right for San Francisco in June. You need to be smart about the climates.
So let’s get started!
California in June Packing Tips
California in June is considered early summer. You’re beating the biggest crowds and (hopefully) the wildfires. At the same time, schools are slowly closing their doors, as beach towns prepare for their peak seasons with gusto.
But like I already said, even though you might associate summer with hot temperatures, California is huge. Weather conditions wildly vary.
For instance, in Pleasanton in Tri-Valley, I needed short light dresses to handle the sun’s relentless rays, whereas in nearby Berkeley, the breeze off San Francisco Bay was strong enough to make me shiver and get goosebumps on my arms!
You need to be flexible about packing for California in June. I always advocate for light packing, but at the same time, don’t underestimate how much you need to feel comfortable in your own skin.
What to Pack for California in June
This packing guide for California in June is divided into two separate parts: essential items and clothing items.
Every traveler is different, of course, and a packing list might work for one person but not someone else. And this is totally fine.
I hope this guide does at least give you some ideas for what to bring, though. And hey, if one of these items don’t work for you, then you can always slash it off your list!
California in June Essentials
These are all the items that you ought to bring to California in June.
Honestly, you could probably purchase a lot of this stuff in California, but this isn’t a cheap state to visit. You’re much better off bringing these items from home, unless you have a particular souvenir in mind, in which case spend whatever your heart desires — guilt free!
Casual Day Pack
I like wearing a day pack for California. Day packs are casual and fun, and make it much easier to take around all of your essentials for day-to-day sightseeing. Day packs, of course, come in a variety of styles and colors, so it’s important to find the best possible day pack for you! Do your research.
For me, Tumi makes some of my favorite daypacks and though they are pricier than other brands, their products will literally last for years if you take proper care of them.
As a side note, while most of California is safe, some travelers are more apprehensive about property crime than others. Anxious travelers may want to opt for a Pacsafe day pack that has anti-theft protection, which will put your mind at ease.
California is a massive state. Obviously.
For longer visits, bring a good quality guidebook to plan your adventures. Lonely Planet has a wonderful line of guidebooks. Their California guidebook covers the entire state in-depth and is invaluable for both the planning process and actual sightseeing time.
Cotton Tote (or Similar)
You’ll want to explore California’s many fantastic farmer’s markets in June. The produce is absolutely exquisite, and by supporting local farmers, you’re improving the communities that you’re traveling in. Win/win for everyone.
To protect the environment, California enacted a single use plastic bag ban back in 2015. Don’t come unprepared.
Bring a cotton tote so you’re able to buy produce at the markets without struggling to carry it all.
Yes, hotels provide towels, but if you want to bring your own towel for the beaches, then I suggest avoiding traditional towels. They are WAY too bulky for your luggage. Instead opt to purchase a mircofiber towel that is super compact and dries fast. Excellent for all travelers.
Mirrorless & Compact Camera
I love taking photos with my phone, but for professional quality photos, I recommend buying a Sony mirrorless camera for all your pictures. It’s compact and comfortable to take with you. You won’t have to worry about insanely bulky lenses, and the price point isn’t too high either if you’re someone who is interested in improving their photography.
Portable Cell Phone Charger
You will walk a lot in California, which means it’s extra important to keep devices charged. I would go even further and say that portable phone chargers are mandatory in California’s nature (in case of an emergency). And if you use your phone for pictures and video, you definitely want to stay prepared. So keep those portable chargers on hand!
Reusable Water Bottle
Stay hydrated as your explore California, especially in summer! My suggestion is bringing a foldable reusable water that you’re able to take with you as you sightsee throughout this gorgeous state. The foldable water bottle is also perfect for your packing list for California in June because it’ll take up limited space inside your luggage.
For international travelers, I always recommend buying travel insurance. Healthcare in the United States is expensive. You don’t want to be in a situation where you get sick or injured in California, and then be on the hook for a massive bill. I always buy World Nomads insurance for all of my solo trips! I’ve never been disappointed in their product.
What to Wear in California in June
Deciding what to wear in California is complicated depending on where you want to go. For instance, if you want to relax on southern California’s beaches, then you’re pretty set on packing clothes suitable for a “sun and sand” vacation.
On the other hand, if you’re going to San Francisco and then venturing into California’s interior, then you’re going to need to thoughtfully select clothes for a variety of weather conditions.
I’ve listed a couple fashion suggestions below that you may (or may not!) need for going to California in June.
A Bathing Suit
Let’s face it: this packing list for California in June without be complete without mentioning a bathing suit.
Everyone loves the water in California, and I’m sure you do too!
If your plans include California’s epic beaches and water parks, then you will definitely want to add a flattering bathing suit to your packing list for California in June. I went to Hurricane Harbor in Concord and had the best time embracing my inner child! Totally worth bringing a bathing suit with me.
Cardigan to Layer
California’s evenings are chilly in some areas. Not to mention, if you want to take a ferry out to Alcatraz, then you’re going to be cold if you strut on board in a summer dress. Always have a lightweight and packable cardigan with you in case of temperature changes. I’m a huge advocate for feeling comfortable.
You’ll do a loooot of walking in California. And not only in nature. Cities too. You don’t want to underestimate how many steps you will clock in a single day. For instance, in San Francisco, I walked nearly 10 miles in a single day, and those hills were truly brutal on my thighs. Don’t skimp on your sneakers.
I would personally invest in a high quality pair of sneakers such as these Merrell alpine sneakers. Your feet will be very happy that you did.
Comfortable Open-Toed Shoes
Don’t only limit yourself to sneakers for California in June!
In warmer temperatures, you’ll also want to wear a nice pair of walking open-toed that pair nicely with dresses too. I don’t know about you, but I love my summer pedicures, and have a great time showing off colorful toenails on my trips!
Lightweight Outdoors Clothing
I’m all about wearing athleisure in California, especially for outdoor activities. Comfy and moisture wicking tee-shirts are perfect for those long city walks or hikes near the Pacific Ocean.
And, of course, I always love my signature black leggings for travel in any country, any time of year, haha.
Packable and Fun Sundresses
No California packing list for June would be complete without mentioning dresses.
So, for those hot afternoons in California’s cities, wear an adorable and packable sundress! Bring one or two colors, and then dress up with costume jewelry for drinks or dinner out.
Sunglasses and a Sun Hat
Last but certainly not least, you want to protect your skin and eyes in California in June. For example, on my trip to Tri-Valley, temperatures reached over 90 degrees with UV rays at 10 (or very high) in the middle of the afternoon. I take sun protection seriously.
My advice is to wear a sun hat at the hottest times of the day. You want to protect the top of your head, after all, and not only your face.
Furthermore, I never like the sun touching my skin, especially on my face where excessive sun exposure causes wrinkles and spots. Just … no. For California, I suggest bringing two types of sun lotion to protect both your face and body. My favorite sun products are Sun Bum, which are all vegan and reef friendly, so you know the lotion won’t damage the environment.
I hope you liked this packing list for California in June! Have a blast on your summer trip to California! It really is a beautiful state especially in the warmer months.