Favorite Summer Vacation Essentials for Your Next Trip

Are you traveling this summer? Pack my favorite summer vacation essentials for your family’s summer getaway.

Summer is a wonderful time of year for touring your dream destination or relaxing at the beach with your family, and these travel essentials for summer should be on your packing list for your summer trip.

(This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on my site at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summer vacation travel essentials
Biltmore Estate

There’s just something about traveling, and even the anticipation of a fun vacation, that boosts my spirits. And when your vacation gathers all of your children and grand baby together in one place for a few days, it’s the cherry on top!

This summer has brought a lot of travel for us, but it’s been a fun change of pace from our normal summer family beach vacation. 

touring historic downtown Ocala, Florida
Historic Downtown Ocala, Florida

Last month Jeff, Caroline, and I took a long road trip to Central Florida to attend a wedding, and then wrapped up our Florida trip with visits to friends and family on the Gulf near Fort Myers.

The busy summer schedules of our adult children didn’t allow for a full week together at the beach this year, so we opted for a long family weekend together in Asheville, North Carolina. 

While I do love to dip my toes into salt water at least once a year, our Asheville trip proved to be so much fun, and just what our family needed! 

Our family vacation in Asheville preceded Caroline’s week of high school church camp which happened to be held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, so Jeff and I took advantage of a little alone time, and headed on to one of my favorite cities (and birthplace), Charleston, South Carolina. 

Today, I’m sharing some of our summer vacation memories, the lovely sites we visited, as well as some of my favorite summer travel essentials that I packed for all of our various adventures.

Touring Asheville, North Carolina:

Our oldest son, Zach, along with his wife, Sarah, and our sweet grandbaby, Eden, live in Knoxville, Tennessee. As a youth pastor, summer is a busy season full of youth group activities, so they requested that we not travel too far for our family weekend. Knoxville is only about an hour and a half from Asheville, so it was a great spot for them to get away for a few days. Kyle and Renee joined us from Nashville, which was about 4 1/2 hours from Asheville.

We found the cutest little Airbnb that was perfect for our family of eight. The location wasn’t too far from the Biltmore Estate, and it had plenty of room for all of us to be together.

Our family vacation to Biltmore Estate

​We spent a couple of days on the Biltmore Estate touring this gorgeous home and gardens. This incredible 250-room chateau was completed by George Vanderbilt in 1895, and is quite a sight to behold! 

Biltmore Estate

With a 14 month old in our family, our two-day passes were a good idea and certainly appreciated, and enabled us to focus on our tour of the home one day, and then the expansive gardens and landscape designed by Frederick Olmsted the next day.

Overlooking the gently rolling hills at Biltmore Estate

The gently rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains offer a breathtaking view from the Biltmore!

The Italian water gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina featuring giant koi ponds
This photo features the Italian water garden at Biltmore.

On our second day, we toured the gardens and grounds and the amazing conservatory on the estate.

Lush plantings in the greenhouse at Biltmore Estate
Lush vegetation in the Conservatory
A large wooden lion sculpture in the greenhouse at Biltmore Estate
A pair of wooden lion statues stand guard.
Unusual turquoise bloom in the greenhouse at Biltmore Estate
The most unusual turquoise bloom in the Conservatory!

While the Biltmore Estate is quite grand, we also enjoyed touring downtown Asheville, with its River Arts District, and eating at many of the fabulous restaurants around town. Some of our favorites were Red Ginger Dimsum and Tapas, Early Girl Eatery, and Biscuit Head.

Formal gardens at the North Caroline Arboretum
North Carolina Arboretum
Lush gardens at the North Caroline Arboretum
North Carolina Arboretum

On Sunday, which was actually Father’s Day, we kicked off the day with a delicious breakfast at Early Girl Eatery, and then explored the North Carolina Arboretum, which was also designed by Olmsted. The beautiful gardens and grounds provided a wonderful place for our family to hike and enjoy the great outdoors!

A departure from our typical family beach vacations, this weekend getaway was a different type of trip for our family, but one that we all enjoyed! 

On to Charleston, South Carolina:

After our time in Asheville, Jeff and I headed on to Charleston for a few days to ourselves. 

Historic brick home in Charleston with large double porch and ceilings painted Haint Blue
The historic pink French Huguenot Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is the most beautiful city to tour on foot. The gorgeous grand old homes and lush private gardens are so lovely to explore.

Touring Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina
Historic home in Charleston with double white column porch.

The last time we visited, we took a carriage tour, but this time opted for a walking tour, and we’re so glad we did! 

Charleston does not lack for amazing food, and we certainly enjoyed trying out some wonderful restaurants.

Historic brick Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island in Charleston, South Carolina

I did get to dip my toes in the sand and surf on a day trip to the Isle of Palms near Charleston. We enjoyed a little beach time this day as well as touring the island and nearby Sullivan’s Island. We toured Fort Moultrie, a national park featuring an historic fort that overlooks the harbor. 

Avenue of the Oaks with live oak trees at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, SC
We visited Boone Hall Plantation with it’s famous Avenue of Oaks lined by live oaks.
Lush side garden in historic Charleston
This private side garden of a home in historic Charleston is an example of all the garden delights to take in while exploring!
Beautiful planter window boxes full of pink, magenta, and purple flowers in Charleston, SC
Beautiful window box planters in Charleston with pink caladium, green potato vine, and pink impatiens

You’ll also find lots of gorgeous flower boxes planted around the city! These were some of my favorites.

Jeff and I had such a great time in Charleston, and the most important thing —  we enjoyed having a few days to ourselves!

Summer Vacation Essentials for touring Charleston

Must-Haves for My Summer Packing List:

I wanted to share some of my favorite things I took along on our trip. All of the touring and exploring on foot called for comfortable, and breathable clothes and footwear!

Since we were packing for two different cities, I decided to try packing cubes for my suitcase. I found a set of expandable packing cubes at TJMaxx that are similar to these. They were perfect for organizing my travel bag, and made packing and unpacking a breeze between locations.

With all of our touring, comfortable walking shoes were a MUST! I looked for a pair of comfortable shoes that provided plenty of arch support, but also looked cute for dinner since we would be walking everywhere in Charleston.

I get hot and tired of wearing sneakers when touring on hot days, and these orthotic thong sandals were the perfect new shoes!

I also packed four lightweight dresses featuring blues and neutral colors for our trip. They were cool enough for touring or for walking to dinner. I bought this beige midi dress last summer for our family beach photos. It’s cool and breezy!

This little blue and white striped dress made the perfect coverup for our day at the beach. It’s a little thin, so it needs a slip under it if wearing as a dress.

I actually took the blue and cream version of this cute printed dress on our trip. The blue colorway is currently not available, but it comes in a variety of colors including this green option.

A day at the beach called for some of my favorite beach essentials!

We’ve had this pair of collapsible beach chairs for a few years, and they’re so easy to carry and set up!

My navy and white striped Scout beach bag is still serving me well! It’s large and provides plenty of room for our beach towels and other beach essentials, such as a good book! I packed along my current read — The Women, by Kristin Hannah!

These microfiber towels make the perfect quick dry beach towel when traveling.

I found the best self tanner this spring and used it for our son’s wedding. I’ve been using this Tan-Luxe Hydra Mousse all summer long and love the natural look! It’s easy to apply with my favorite tanning mitt set! The back applicator strap is a game changer!

If you have summer travel plans I hope these tips and suggestions help with your vacation planning! There’s nothing quite like a getaway to refresh the soul and re-energize!

What are your summer travel plans? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Happy Summer!

Pin it for later!
Summer vacation travel essentials PIN

By the way, do you follow me on all the socials? If not, check out my PinterestInstagramand Facebook and be sure to follow along so you don’t miss out on any of my decorating and DIY ideas.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *