I have wanted to write a post about packing for Cape Cod for awhile as I feel like there is a lot of bad information out there. I see a lot of people visiting Cape Cod; packing really dressy outfits, high heels, and so on and so forth. OR at the other end of the spectrum, people get so preppy (when in fact, people who live on the Cape aren’t very preppy at all! You might see a little Lilly, a little VV, but overall, Cape Cod style is pretty laid back and not very preppy.)
I get it – if you are a blogger/influencer and visiting Cape Cod to create content, do your thing! Have fun, make it editorial, etc etc. But for the rest of us: Cape Cod is actually SUPER casual. For the everyday person visiting Cape Cod (aka me visiting my parents), you don’t need much. No one is really wearing seersucker or bows, it’s more of a t-shirt and cut-offs kind of place. It’s stylish, but in a casual and laid back sort of way. When I go home to Cape Cod, I leave all my designer stuff at home, I live in denim + tees + cotton coverups, and sometimes I don’t even pack makeup as I know I’m just going to be hanging out… beach during the day, BBQing at night… the best part about visiting (or going home to) Cape Cod is how low key it is!
Without further ado, here’s what you should pack if you are visiting Cape Cod.
I find that this is the thing people are most often to forget. Your hot in the city and you can’t even think about wearing a sweater! But it cools off at night in a big way and you’ll be so happy you packed something warm. Honestly you could get away with a simple sweatshirt or hoodie, but a nice sweater will also work.
I personally live in my Barefoot Dreams Cardigan – it’s so so soft and cozy! As an added bonus, it doesn’t wrinkle in your suitcase which is of course an advantage. My other favorite is this cozy Vince cardigan. LOVE. It’s long and lean and basically a socially-acceptable bathrobe.
A classic striped tee
(Preferably a size or two too big so that it’s nice and slouchy.) There’s nothing better than a big cozy breton stripe tee. I have this classic tee from Saint James in a large (I’m usually a small or medium) and love it in a larger size. It’s super comfy and classic but since it’s bigger it’s relaxed and casual. So cute tucked into cutoffs or white jeans.
A panama hat
Okay please don’t be that blogger that shows up decked to the nines with 100 hats on the Cape. The locals will look at you like an alien. But if you must bring a hat, a classic panama hat is perfection and helpful in preventing sun damage.
Lots of t-shirts
Cotton Coverups and Caftans
A dramatic (long) caftan will be totally out of place here. But a cute short caftan or coverup will do you well, taking you from the beach to lunch back to the beach and then to drinks afterwards. It’s all about easy, effortless style. I personally love ANYTHING from Mirth Caftans, something like this or this from J.Crew, or a long beachy shirt like this (which is equally cute knotted with shorts).
You want a pair of casual sandals that are great for walking, but are still cute. For that reason, I’m obsessed with my gold birks. I take them everywhere but they’re particularly at home on Cape Cod!
Rubber Flip Flops
My mom pointed this out – and this is a fail on both my sister + my part: we only packed our birks! If you go to the beach and go swimming, your shoes are going to get wet – you need flip flops! No need to complicate this; we like Havaianas.
For going out at night, when you don’t want to wear your birks, reach for fun slides. These Steve Madden slides are perfection.
A great pair of cutoffs.
Cutoffs are essential. Honestly, cut-offs and a tee could be your only outfit for all occasions (except maybe a fancy dinner) and you’d be fine. I live in my Rag & Bone boy shorts but also love this pair from GRLFRND (a new fav for denim!!)
A good pair of (inexpensive) sunglasses
If you do Cape Cod right you will be at beaches and dive bars and on boats and in the ocean. Don’t bring the Celine or the Gucci. I personally LOVE these Polaroid sunglasses. They look like Celine but are way less expensive; my mom even got a pair too! They’ve become my go-to but I make sure I always pack them when I travel; you just don’t want to bring the fancy shades out when you have any chance of losing or ruining them.
A great beach bag
Lots of lots of sunscreen
A given. This is my current favorite sunscreen. It isn’t organic or natural but it is effective and won’t make me break out or get a rash so I love it.
Leave in Conditioner
This is another thing my mom and I were talking about. The Cape is (sorry) generally conducive to frizz and bad hair. Leave in conditioner is a must. We love this one from Fekkai. It sprays on – just comb it through after your shower and you will feel so much better – soft, frizz free hair.
Lip Balm with SPF
I always forget my lips when I put on sunscreen… ack. I got this one from Aesop (with SPF 30) and I love it.
A Natural Looking Mascara
You really don’t need much makeup on the Cape but I still always wear mascara, at least at night. Glossier Lash Slick is my fave (read my review of it here) because it doesn’t flake off and it’s really natural looking.