Greetings and happy hump day! I’ve had a few requests, so today I’m sharing what to pack for a Maine summer vacation, along with what I brought on our trip.
I always feel like a fraud when I create packing posts because I am probably the world’s worst over-packer. But hey! I always have all the options I need. When I try to pack light, I always end up regretting it.
Actually, I think I did a pretty good job this time — mainly because I didn’t bring anything for blog pictures, so I just packed for our vacation. Plus we’ve done this trip so many times that I pretty much have it down by now.
My parents have a home on a lake in the Bangor/Ellsworth area, so we take a family vacation up here almost every summer, and I’ve had lots of practice packing for this trip.
You can see more of my Maine posts through the years, and these are my best Maine vacation packing tips.
What To Pack for a Maine Summer Vacation
#1. Start with the shoes.
When packing for any destination, I always start with shoes. (See more expert packing tips from Mary Fowler.)
Your activities tend to dictate your shoes, so think through the activities you’ll be doing and select your shoes first. This single tip has made me a MUCH better packer.
Our Maine vacations are always very casual, and they often require some walking and/or hiking, so I packed my running shoes as well as my new Nike trainers. I didn’t really need both, but I prefer wearing the Nikes for sightseeing because they’re cuter. I wore my running shoes for running (duh) and also for hiking.
(I would also recommend hiking in activewear, not denim shorts and a cotton tank. I was drenched in sweat, and I would have been more comfortable in my running clothes, which is what I typically wear to hike.)
But back to shoes…
I wore my Tory Burch Miller sandals traveling up in the car, and I’ve worn them literally every day I’ve been here at some point. I also packed my Minnie travel flats in case I wanted a closed shoe option that’s nicer than sneakers.
You might also want plastic flip flops and/or water shoes, depending on your activities. Here at the lake, water shoes are a must if you plan to get in the water because it’s very rocky.
Also, more of an athletic sandal can come in handy up here — it really depends on your activities.
All the shoes I brought are neutral colors so they go with anything.
Shoes I Brought to Maine:
#2. Stick with neutral bottoms; bring a mix of shorts and pants.
In addition to all neutral shoes, I packed all neutral bottoms. This made putting outfits together super easy. (It also allowed me to pack almost any top I wanted without having to overthink it my outfits. I knew they’d all go with something.)
The weather in Maine is very unpredictable, and you need an assortment of pants and shorts.
I wore these jeans in the car and brought a second pair in my suitcase. We have a washer/dryer at camp, but I always air dry my jeans, which takes time — especially in humid weather. I don’t want to be without a pair if I need them, so I always bring two, and I’ve worn both.
Beyond that, I brought 3 pairs of denim shorts (2 blue; 1 white) as well as a pair of joggers for hanging out around camp.
I could have gotten by with one pair of blue jean shorts, but I wore my ripped up pair around camp and the other pair when I wanted to look a little nicer. I also wore the white ones a couple of times, so I’m glad I packed them all.
Shorts & Pants I Packed:
#3. Pack an assortment of summer tops.
Because my shoes and jeans were all neutrals, I could basically pack any of my favorite tops and know I had something to wear them with. I threw in a variety of summer tees, tanks, and nicer tops.
I laid them all out on the bed and tried to think about our typical Maine activities, and made sure I had at least one that is appropriate for each occasion.
We do have a washer/dryer at the lake house so I knew I could wash and re-wear some things, but I still packed quite a few tops. I’ve worn all but the navy linen tee, and I plan to wear it during the next leg of our trip in Massachusetts.
My Summer Tops:
#4. Be prepared for chilly mornings and evenings.
It can get quite chilly here in the summertime, so I always pack a few cardigans and sweatshirts.
I usually bring at least one long-sleeve pullover sweatshirt or sweater to wear with shorts — or jeans, if we get a cold snap. It’s been known to happen, but this visit has been warm most of the time.
This year, I packed this star sweatshirt, and I wore it on a rainy day with my white shorts.
I also packed a couple of cardigans and a thin zip-up hoodie. I don’t usually bring two cardigans in addition to a hoodie, but it worked out because one of my daughters ended up borrowing one a few times.
I like to throw a cardigan on over my pajamas when I get up in the morning, and I also wear them over tees and tanks on chillier days. Even if it’s warm, I always bring one along on day trips in case it’s cooler on the coast or in a restaurant, or wherever we’re going.
Sweaters & Sweatshirts I Brought:
#5. Bring a large tote as well as a smaller bag for sightseeing.
This year I carried a mid-size shoulder bag as my purse and brought my large Everlane tote for all the extras — including my laptop and Kindle, charging cords, etc.
Usually I put all my purse items in the tote with my laptop and bring a small crossbody for sightseeing. Either way, it’s nice to have two options.
When we take day trips, I bring my tote in the car with all the things because I never know what I might end up needing, and I throw a crossbody bag inside so when we get where we’re going, I can put the essentials in the crossbody and carry that around town.
Another good bag to have along is a lightweight backpack, especially if you plan to do hiking/biking activities.
In our case, my husband always carries the backpack so I don’t need one.
#6. Don’t forget a raincoat.
I always bring a lightweight rain jacket with me to Maine because it usually rains for several days, and I hate being wet and cold. That’s also why I packed the Minnie flats — to have a closed shoe option that’s nicer than a sneaker.
We lucked out this trip and didn’t have a ton of rain. The two days that were rainy, we stayed inside, but I think this is my first summer Maine vacation that I haven’t used my rain jacket.
Beyond all of that, I packed two pairs of pajamas — short ones and long ones. Again, when going to New England in the summertime, you have to be prepared to be cold or hot or anywhere in between. I’ve worn both.
I also packed a bathing suit and my running clothes.
A baseball hat is always good to have for hiking (and for throwing on when you don’t want to fix your hair. Ha!)
I try to keep my jewelry simple. On the trip up, I wore silver studs, my silver link bracelet, and a silver pendant, and I wore a combination of those just about every day. I also brought pearl earrings and silver hoops, as well as a few gold bangles and gold drop earrings, but I didn’t really need them.
Of course, toiletries and sunscreen are a given. Oh, and bug spray! FYI, my T3 travel dryer is on sale at Hautelook!
I think that about covers it.
The main thing to remember when packing for a Maine summer vacation is that you will have a variety of weather conditions, and you want to be prepared for all of it — heat, cold, rain, wind, etc. Since you need a lot of options, keep it simple and make sure everything goes together so you can mix and match.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer in the comments!
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