What Do I Pack for Dinah Shore?: Pool Party Packing 101

You may think that packing your bags to go to Palm Springs for Dinah Shore Weekend would be just like packing for any other vacation, and you would be so incredibly wrong! When you’re getting your stuff together for the biggest lezzer bikini dance party crazyfest in the USA, you have to make sure you consider every possible situation that could arise, including but not limited to every single person getting her period at the exact same time. Also, needing a ponytail holder.

Lucky for you, Team Autostraddle has braved the wilds of Dinah Shore Weekend before. So we’re exceptionally qualified to give you all sorts of advice on what to bring and how to be prepared for the debauchery — I MEAN GOOD CLEAN WHOLESOME FUN.



1. A corkscrew. You’d be surprised how frustrating it is when you don’t have one. Last year Julie Goldman saved my life, and you could make so many friends if you had a corkscrew on you. Believe me. Or circumvent this issue altogether and see #3.

2. Inflatable anything. Kelsey and I picked up an inflatable shark and turtle and the rest is HISTORY. By that I mean, Kelsey posed for lots of super cute photo-ops with those guys.

3. Franzia. Just kidding, you should totally pick this up there. You know, the TSA and all. You’re going to need Franzia in the morning just to make it to the brunch place where a bloody mary will cure what ails you. Or I mean, not drinking is probably an all-around smarter idea.

4. A cute dress and some cargo shorts. Depending on the crowd, you can tinker with your gender presentation accordingly to feel like a special snowflake.

5. A camera. Palm Springs is beautiful… you should really get your drunk ass out of that hotel courtyard.



1. A bottle opener. Actually, just bring a lighter because it can double as a bottle opener and that fire is also going to come in handy.

this will do

2. Large sunglasses to help you avoid being recognized in the background of The Real L Word Dinah episode.

look at all the sunglasses

3. Hair-dryer/straightener/whatever that can handle being covered in mojito/being used by five lesbians at all hours of the day. My straightener hardly survived last year.

4. Board shorts. Several pairs.

5. TAMPONS and some aspirin. You will start your period if you go to Dinah Shore, there is no other option.



1. First-aid kit. Last year mine included Advil, four tampons, two sporks, some band-aids, electrical tape, a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, matches, hand sanitizer and a Sharpie. This year I’m adding ACE BANDAGE + LIGHTER. Learn from experience.

2. Several bottles/spray cans of sunscreen. No one else will bring any, or they won’t bring enough, so they’ll steal yours.

3. Bandana. They’re cute and useful. The key is to cut them in half. You have to cut them in half.

4. Wisps! Just can’t stress this enough. When your breath is fresh and minty and your teeth are clean, you’re 89% more confident when you ask to borrow Julie Goldman’s bottle opener. Or whatever, I mean, you know.

5. Cash. And not just twenties. One of you will be the one who gets the coffee, but probably it won’t be you. You’ll need to pay that person. That person may or may not run into Miley Cyrus while accomplishing this task.



1. Reusable water bottle. Some have trees on them so you can be like, “Hey Look! I love nature!” Chicks dig that.

2. Reusable tumbler with straw and lid to maximize your drinkage to spillage ratio. Also it’s easily identifiable and you don’t have to worry (as much) about being poisoned by girls who just want to get in your pants.

3. Sunglasses so you never have to make eye contact with anyone and can check out anyone you like without them knowing. May I suggest the kind you get from Chinatown/street vendors/H&M for $5 so that it’s not a big deal when they inevitably break or you give them to some girl who would look cute in them or they are inevitably stolen. May I also suggest buying them in a bright color, like red, so you are easily identifiable and immediately cool.



1. Tonic to go with the vodka to make my signature drink, the VODKA VODKA tonic.

2. Either Ambien or an iPod, which you should pre-load with Baby White Noise and then stick in your ears and put on repeat and block out everybody’s noise to sleep soundly. Because everyone is going to be snoring, making out, or kicking you in the throat.

3. Something black for the white party:

4. Six white Hanes a-shirts, aka “beaters.” Goes with everything and it’s not too sad when you spill mojito on it because it only cost like $4.

5. Your laptop so you can read our liveblog.


Jess R.

1. Snacks Good, healthy, cheap food is hard to come by at these all-day pool party situations so make sure to stick a few protein/fiber bars in your bag for those afternoon low blood sugar lulls. Otherwise, you may have to spend $10 on a bag of chips and half cooked veggie burger.

2. A hoodie. I froze my ass off last year because I thought Palm Springs would be 80 degrees. Turns out it’s the desert and the desert gets cold at night. Consider yourself warned. And if you bring an American Apparel hoodie, you could rock the Justin Bieber lesbian look.

3. An outfit for the White Party. There’s a party Saturday night where everyone has to wear white. I believe it’s called The White Party. A lot of us have issues with wearing all white, and we’re Autostraddle and therefore rebel against authority, so we sometimes wear black to such events. Use your discretion.

4. Five Hour Energy/Red Bull. Not only does this keep you awake for the non-stop partying, it also goes great with vodka.


1. Xanax.


Julie and Brandy

1. Beer opener/wine opener/pill cutter.

2. Beer/wine/prescription pills.

3. Loose tank top to put over your bikini top while at the pool. This will cover your stomach, but show side boob!

4. Feather earrings. These are a must if you want to RULE at lesbian nighttime functions.

Julie & Brandy ruling at a nighttime lesbian function

5. Scarf and/or fingerless gloves for fashion and function. It’s actually quite chilly in Palm Springs at night.

I feel like the moral of the story is: bottle opener. Hey! Are you going to Palm Springs with us? Have you been to a similar event which enables you to pontificate on this topic? Are we forgetting anything?

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lnj has written 310 articles for us.


  1. My mother refuses to go anywhere w/o a mason jar of vodka. I think this is good policy for anyone/everyone. And if you forgot the tonic/lemon it’s nbd.

    I think this is one of those situations where it really pays to listen to our elders.

  2. THANK.YOU. I really needed this because all my packing list consists of right now is alcohol and a styrofoam cooler. Which is apparently a good start – so that’s reassuring. And I actually do have a lighter/bottle opener combo deal already. I AM SO READY.

  3. I feel like if I have to look at one more adorable picture of Kelsey with an inflatable animal I am going to die.

  4. This list just brought back memories from my 1st Dinah…and non memories, because I used the bottle opener a little too much that year. Thank you for this :)

  5. My girl and I cannot afford to go to DS this year….but we are already saving for next year!! So, we’ll keep this list in mind when we’re ready to pack for next year!
    To all the ladies going – HAVE FUN and BE SAFE! :)

  6. Also – the fact that I am stocking up on booze is why I chose to drive to Dinah instead of flying. Helloooo Bevmo!

  7. Bandana. They’re cute and useful. The key is to cut them in half. You have to cut them in half.


    Also, you left me off the list.

      • you’re doing it wrong!

        reasons to cute them in half:
        less awkward bulge
        2x the bandanna
        share with a friend
        you’re more like tupac
        all the cool kids are doing it.

        Above photo has the awks bulge.

    • it’s worth noting that rachel didn’t actually go to dinah shore last year, she just live-blogged it for us from boston

      • i’m not sure if this means she’s as qualified as the rest or MORE qualified. but i’m leaning toward the latter…mostly because i used all caps.

        • i think it is just because i’m more scared? the devil you know (endless all-night liveblogging) always sounds better than the devil you don’t (other people), etc

  8. I loved this and I wish I was going…bring a spare of everything.
    I’m working on my next blog entry… see I decided to venture to Dinah before I’d ever been to a gay bar. Quite the experience let me tell you. More to come!!

  9. I want to goooo!!! Quick! Everyone from Northwestern Ontario let’s get together, rent a car, and make it a road trip!

  10. I am kind of afraid of Dinah Shore. I feel like my list would look very similar to Rachel’s. Also I think I don’t drink enough/spend enough time naked to survive the entire weekend.

    • you can do it. trust me. if you don’t drink enough then have a weekend of drinking too much and you will completely survive a sea of nakedness for three days!

    • Yes. This. I mean, I can barely cope with just the thought of going to the gay bar never mind Dinah Shore. It just seems so terrifying to me.

    • I get nervous in the Apple store, I think if I went to Dinah Shore I would pass out and eat almonds in my terrified stupor, and then I would swell up and die.

    • Me too! I saw the title of the article and that picture, which I thought was some kind of sex toy and thought “Well, that goes without saying!”

    • Maybe it’s like a Swiss Army knife and it has more than one function. One of the functions happens to be that you can stick it in your vag before you offer to open someone’s wine bottle. Or after. Most likely after.

  11. I think Dinah Shore needs to pack a mystery singer / group that can live up to last year’s lineup.

  12. Rachel, since you’re only packing Xanax, do you think you’ll have room for me? I’m very flexible.

  13. I wanna go! Dammitdammitdammit. I hate being poor and being stranded in Idaho. I keep trying to tell myself that as awesome as being surrounded by 14,000 queermos sounds, I’d actually hate it because I’d be the only completely sober one there (even if I wanted to drink, it interacts with my medication and drinking something that tastes gross to me just isn’t worth the heart arrhythmia).

    Somehow that just doesn’t make me feel any better though and I cry myself to sleep. But at least there’ll be liveblogging!

    • We should have our own Idaho Dinah! I think we’d have closer to 14 not 14,000 queermos though…

      • We should! I’ve got 6 1/2 acres of woods out here. Idaho Dinah would be more camping-oriented, rather than pool- and party-oriented, though.

        • Haha yeah, I don’t think Roaring Springs would really cut it. What part of the state are you in? 6.5 acres of woods sounds nice :)

  14. I’m still sad that this falls on the same weekend that I’ve been planning to be in Berkeley for the last two months. What if I get to the Bay Area and there’s no lesbians because they’re all at Dinah Shore?!

  15. I think I may have one to add to the list:

    1. You should take a Lindsey

    which is funny since my name just so happens to be that. Even spelled that way and everything.

  16. Dinah Shore sounds absolutely terrifying. I guess I’m a bad teenager, but just the thought of thousands of lesbians all wearing bikinis and drinking questionable fluids makes me need my puffer.
    Also, definitely pack tons of sunscreen. I always always have sunscreen because I burn like a beached wale, and everyone always steals mine because they didn’t pack any. And then guess who doesn’t get any sunscreen.

  17. Am I the only person who would bring a book? I don’t know why I expect that I would be having down time at such an event though.

  18. I would love to go sometime…..although being surrounded by thousands of half naked ladies would be enough to make me swoon and I’d think I had gone to lesbian heaven…..

  19. I think what you really need to pack is a AutostraddleDinahShore2k11 P.A. Someone to remember, pack, and fetch said cork screws, bottle openers, mason jars of vodka, and xanex. Someone handy enough to McGyver a new feather earing when said feather earring is mysteriously lost during the rendezvous in room 506 after said white party. Someone with the lung capacity to inflate all of these blow up animals you plan on bringing. So basically what I’m saying is, do you need a PA?

  20. Was I looking at this weekend all wrong? I planned on suncreen, string bikini and white dress. I’ll be bringing another suitcase full of my favorite toys. Yes, I pack two suitcases for a weekend, but I always seem to have to the most fun!

  21. Pingback: Lesbian Travel: What to Pack for Dinah Shore | Purple Roofs Travel Blog

  22. Heyy everyone. I don’t really have to pack at all since I just moved into my parents place in Palm Desert (20 min from Palm Springs). Point is I don’t know anybody going to Dinah. Should I just show up alone and see how it goes or does anyone want to add a tall boyish queer to their group? I’m cute and kooky hahaha.

    • Ps. You can email me at goodforkphotos[at]gmail[dot]com if you really don’t want to go solo. I’m always down to meet new Autostraddlers! :)

  23. also, i’m not made of money and won’t be able to go to the parties…maybe one…
    but if you need someone to chill with let me know, my friends and i are renting a villa.

    i’m also bringing my bike cause i’m super lame/gay

  24. i am from mexico I would go to Texas dinah shore someone with whom to share to road trip
    facebook ________ nora mybr

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