What to Pack for a Weekend in Santa Cruz

May 17, 2023

It’s that vacation time of year and I’ve linked up with some of my favorite bloggers for a variety of “what to pack” posts!

My post is about what to pack for a weekend in Santa Cruz, or any little beach town really.


Between long vacations and big trips, it’s nice to sprinkle in some weekend get-a-ways.  It’s a chance to be someplace different and explore new things, without the hassle of air travel and airports.

Being only an hour drive from the coast is wonderful and we spend a lot of time in Santa Cruz and neighboring towns.


Here’s my packing list and shopping ideas for WHAT TO PACK for a beach town weekend:


Saturday: the beach & the boardwalk, the wharf & the shops

Now some women would go for the shorts here and that’s great, but I’m all about a sundress at the beach. It’s easy to layer over a swimsuit and is pretty for a chic lunch and some boutique browsing as well.

Here I’m wearing my Billabong True Romance dress, available in this bright print as well as some more subtle ones.  Don’t let the “juniors” tag fool you. With the empire waist and midi length this dress is modest, comfortable, and flattering for all.

Other cute sundresses:


My sandals here are from Jambu and are water-ready, so perfect for the beach.

Other cute sandal options:


This is THE sunhat for me … packable, high sun protection, and it has an optional strap for windy days!


I wish this exact tote was still available, but it’s from last year, but here are some great choices in stores this season:


And here are some nice swimsuits and cover-ups to choose from:



Saturday Night Date Night: seafood with an ocean view


I love a romantic dinner at the Jack O’Neill Restaurant and Lounge or the Crow’s Nest.  Both restaurants have stunning ocean views!

I’m loving this Loveappella Sundress and have been wearing it so many different ways and it’s just perfect here for a date night. The jersey knit is so comfortable and flows beautifully.  It’s a little low cut for me normally, but for a romantic beach dinner, it seems just right! (For everyday I wear a little bralet underneath for extra coverage). I love this neutral print and there are many other pretty prints and versatile solids to choose from.

More pretty date night sundresses:


This crochet wrap is years old, but here are a few pretty choices in stores now:


And some sexy sandals:


Sunday: brunch and heading home

I love some lightweight and comfortable gauzy beach pants. Here I’m wearing these Style & Co pants with a hot pink tank and water-proof slides from Jambu.

Gauze summer pants:


Cute summer tops:


And those are my packing ideas for a fun little beach town weekend get-a-way!

Ready to plan some more fun trips? Be sure to check out all the other WHAT TO PACK posts:


Northern California Style

Make Mine a Spritzer

Pinecones and Acorns

Classic Casual Home

Most Lovely Things

Cindy Hattersley Design

Fashion Should Be Fun

Thanks so much for stopping by! Any fun trips coming up?

Fun & Fashion,

Dawn Lucy

About the blog: Fashion Should Be Fun is ME talking to YOU, other middle-aged women who are over 40, but not over fashion.  We still want to look beautiful and stylish.  We still want to have fun with trends.  And we don’t need anyone giving us rules, because we’re all different. This is a place for me to share my love of fashion with you, including style ideas, tips, trends, and inspiration. I know how liking the way we look can translate into confidence and energy. I know we have so much life left to live and so much adventure ahead of us. Let’s show the world you’re never too old to have fun and be fierce.


  • Reply Mary Ann Pickett May 17, 2023 at 6:17 am

    So feminine and pretty. Love all the dresses. I need to spend some time with your links! I went to school at SCU. We loved going to Santa Cruz as students…and then later when we lived in SF.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 17, 2023 at 8:49 am

      I can’t wait to spend some time with your links as well! I love finding new fabulous blogs to inspire me!


  • Reply Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns May 17, 2023 at 6:38 am


    I love your “mission statement”! You are so right, just because we are over 40 doesn’t mean we don’t want to be beautiful and feel good.

    Love you picks for a weekend at the beach and feel the same way about a dress. They are versatile, stylish and look great and the ocean and at dinner.

    So nice to meet you, looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    Have a wonderful day!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 17, 2023 at 8:51 am

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I put a lot of thought into my mission statement. Can’t wait to check out more of your blog! Thanks for inspiring me!


  • Reply kim May 17, 2023 at 8:59 am

    Dawn great post! We are so lucky to have the beach nearby. I love your little red dress and the cute sandals. I agree sundresses are so easy. Your date night look is also great – and what a fun bag! That’s the perfect piece with a little island flair. I’m so glad to do this with you. Hope you have a fun summer too. You work so hard teaching! xo Kim

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 17, 2023 at 9:10 am

      Aww thanks, Kimi! It was so fun to collaborate with you ladies! And here’s to a fun and relaxing summer for both of us!


  • Reply Juliet May 17, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Love all your sun dresses, Dawn … and beautiful photos and ideas for visiting Santa Cruz. We don’t get out there often enough and you’ve inspired me to get a trip or two on our summer calendar. So fun doing this with you … and I resubscribed to your blog. Not sure why I’ve not been receiving posts … I always enjoy your point of fashion view. xo

  • Reply Annie Diamond May 17, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    Pretty dresses and looks! It makes me want to book a trip to Santa Cruz!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 18, 2023 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for much, Annie! 🙂

  • Reply cindy May 18, 2023 at 11:24 am

    Hi Dawn

    Third time is a charm! I could not get my comment to go through on mobile. Love all your pretty dresses and fun suggestions. We lived close to SC for years and I miss my favorite haunts! Thank you so much for joining us!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 21, 2023 at 12:52 pm

      Aww I hate when that happens! Thanks so much for including me! It was such a fun collaboration!


  • Reply Deborah Milne May 19, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    Super choices, wonderful getaway & lovely you!!!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy May 21, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks so much! 🙂

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