My brother in law got married on Friday, so my husband and I both took the day off (him to help with setup, me to hang out with the kiddo so my MIL had the day free). It was a beautiful wedding and a wondeful day. Our son was the ringbearer and he was so proud to have an important job and made sure he told everyone about it.
Since the wedding was on a Friday, we woke up Saturday morning with the weekend wide open ahead of us. Now that we’re well into the month of October, we’ve entered offseason travel time, which is our favorite time to explore. The weather is still decent for now, but it’s colder and kids are back in school, so most people aren’t traveling.
A short ferry boat run near us will have 4 to 6 or even 7 hour wait lines during the summer, which turns a quick jaunt into a stressful long trip and unreasonable to do without an overnight.
Once peak season drops off, though, ferry travel is completely different. We showed up at the terminal at 9:20AM and drove right on to the 9:30AM sailing. Off season fare is a bit cheaper as well ($17.90 versus $21.15). We were across and sitting down to a coffee shop breakfast by 10AM.
If you ever get a chance to get out to Langley, I would highly recommend the Useless Bay Coffee Company. The coffee was AWESOME, the food was fast and tasty, and they had live music playing even though it was 10AM on a Saturday.
When we go out for breakfast these days, which is a lot less frequently than it used to be, we usually choose coffee shops versus sit down breakfast places. The food is generally at least as good, but it’s cheaper and comes out faster than a full service restaurant, which is a huge bonus when you’re traveling with a toddler. We still really enjoy eating out, but we get just as much satisfaction at a coffee shop for about half the price.
After breakfast, we walked around to explore the town and found that they have an excellent public access beach, so we spent some time down by the water. We didn’t see any whales, but they have a specific lookout point because they are regular visitors to their waters.
Since we didn’t get a glimpse of any whales (though we did see a couple seals swimming by), we headed over to the Langley Whale Center. They are donationed based, so it is pay what you will to visit. They have a ton of interesting exhibits and we got to touch some baleen, which was really cool. I used to volunteer in a similar type of nature center and I know how hard it is to keep them running, so I dropped a $20 in their donation box.
We then walked on down the street and found the coolest kid bookstore I’ve ever been in. Act II Books and Puppets is packed with books and every stuffed animal puppet you can imagine. If you’ve ever wanted a stuffed lightening bug, opossum, or wombat, this is the place for you. The owner was extremely friendly and our son was encouraged to play with all the toys and books in the store.
I had told my son that he could pick one of the tiny sized finger puppets for our trip to Hawaii next month, but he decided he wanted a book – Little Blue Truck’s Halloween – instead. It definitely won’t fit in our carry on, but I have a hard time dissuading him from a book purchase instead. Although we could have just stayed and played for free, we like to support small businesses when we are able.
So of course, thanks to our shared love of books, we checked out the local library next. While we’ve been to better small town libraries (I’m looking at you, Lopez Island Library!), the Langley Library was reasonably stocked with toys and books and we spent a good bit of time there with no pressure to buy anything.
Libraries are seriously an awesome spot to explore with young kids. Not only are there tons of books (duh) but there are usually a bunch of toys to play with as well.
Our son spent some time coloring, playing with blocks, and putting together puzzles, all for free, since we were at a library. If you haven’t taken your kids to a library while out of town, I highly recommend it. It’s especially exciting because it isn’t your hometown library that they’re used to.
After the library, it was time for lunch. Since we’d eaten a late brunch, we just picked up a slice of pepperoni pizza from Village Pizzeria and walked down to another park to sit and eat lunch. The slice was HUGE and we were able to share (and it only cost $4/slice). If we had been really hungry, a third slice would have been more than plenty for the three of us as they were really close to a quarter of a whole pizza.
Bellies full, it was nap time so we put our son in his stroller and took a walk around town. We really love to explore new places on foot because you get to see so much more, and you tend to stumble upon some great spots in the process.
After the walk, we headed over to Double Bluff Brewing Company and shared a flight ($10 including tip) of 4 – 5OZ pours. The beer was decent, but not one of our favorite breweries. By sharing a flight, we get to taste a bunch of different beers without spending a ton of money.
Occasionally, we’ll then fill a growler to take home and drink later. Drinking pints out is definitely not cheap, and no more enjoyable than drinking them at home.
We headed back to the ferry and were home by 5PM for dinner. There was still time to throw a couple of loads of laundry in the wash and then have all of Sunday to relax.
Total cost for a day in Langley: $72.54
- Brunch at Useless Bay Codfee Company $22.52
- Book from Act II Books and Puppets $14.12
- Lunch from Village Pizzeria $8
- Beer flight from Double Bluff Brewing Company $10
- Ferry ride $17.90
If you’re looking for a really cheap day, you could pack food for the day and spend less than $20, which is pretty awesome for a day exploring an island town. Even spending what we did, the day cost less than a single hotel stay.
While we do enjoy headed out of town all weekend, there are so many fun places we can explore within a few hours of home. We then don’t have to pay for lodging and we get to sleep in our own bed but still get the enjoyment of a day’s vacation.