Quaint shops and ocean views will warm your soul.

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Anyone who has spent holidays in the Pacific Northwest knows it’s a magical place in the wintertime. Sunset views of snow-dusted mountains to the east and west, the familiar smell of wood smoke lingering in the evening, morning coastal fog lightly covering our cherished Elliott Bay. With friends and family in town, the holiday season is the perfect time to get out of town for a quick weekend getaway that is fun, convenient and doesn’t break the bank.

This year, hop aboard the San Juan Clipper for a quick and fun trip from downtown Seattle across the water into the heart of the adorable and picturesque Langley on Whidbey Island. A few steps into town and the abundant supply of quaint shops and ocean views will promptly warm your soul. This December, in partnership with Clipper Vacations, the town’s two main streets transform into a magical curated winter scene as part of a brand-new “Christmas by the Sea” experience. Here’s your inside guide to planning a fun weekend getaway with loved ones!

Depart downtown Seattle: 11:30 a.m.

The engines warm up as you hop aboard the San Juan Clipper high-speed catamaran at Pier 69 in downtown Seattle. Listen to festive holiday tunes, sip on a delicious hot apple cider and get in the festive spirit as jaw-dropping scenery glides by on the 75-minute trip. Soak in wintery views of beautiful Bainbridge Island, then Kingston as you cruise through the Salish Sea toward Whidbey Island’s southern tip. The cabin brims with excitement as Langley nears, the harbor filled with moored sailboats.

Enjoy breathtaking seaside views on your way into town and along Langley’s waterfront trail. (Clipper Vacations)
Enjoy breathtaking seaside views on your way into town and along Langley’s waterfront trail. (Clipper Vacations)

Arrive Langley, Whidbey Island: 12:45 p.m.

Stroll five minutes up to Langley’s main street to get the lay of the land. Visit on Dec. 2 and you’ll be treated to Langley’s annual Magic of Christmas festivities. Catch live music and carolers as well as a cheerful parade of Christmas characters. It’s the perfect opportunity for festive selfies or to brush up on the lyrics of your favorite carols ahead of Christmas!

If you’re looking for a delicious hand warmer before setting out to explore the town, stop by Useless Bay Café to grab a local craft coffee. Head over to First Street to explore some of Langley’s famous art galleries, jewelers and eclectic shops where you can pick up last-minute holiday gifts. Duck into Edit for local, handmade housewares or the Star Store for clothes, knickknacks and stocking stuffers.

Edit’s bright and airy storefront features locally crafted housewares, organic personal care products and small goods. (Clipper Vacations)
Edit’s bright and airy storefront features locally crafted housewares, organic personal care products and small goods. (Clipper Vacations)

From there, make your way to Second Street, which is home to the unique Callahan’s Firehouse. Inside, watch as expert glassblowers twist and blow one-of-a-kind kitchen wares and artwork. If you’re feeling peckish, Prima Bistro is a sure bet for lunch or brunch at the Braeburn can’t be overstated. Skip scouring the menu and savor their stuffed French toast with honey-glazed apples, with sweet cinnamon and vanilla notes. It is heaven on a plate.

Wash down lunch with a flight of sudsy pints (be sure to sample their Coho Kolsch, which is brewed with fresh local hops) on Double Bluff Brewing’s heated patio. Afterward, pop into the Langley Whale Center just across the street, where you can learn about the region’s Southern Resident orca population, as well as gray whales, which frequent the waters near Langley. As a last stop of the day, swing by the “Moto Foto Booth” to snap a photo with family and friends alongside friendly elves!

A delicious flight at Double Bluff, where all brews are made fresh on location. (Clipper Vacations)
A delicious flight at Double Bluff, where all brews are made fresh on location. (Clipper Vacations)

Depart Langley: 4:45 p.m.

Follow the lighted path back to the boat, as you get ready to depart. Settle into your cozy seats then power up your camera to relive the day’s highlights. As the San Juan Clipper makes its way around the tip of Discovery Park, the twinkling lights of the Seattle slowly come back into view. If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas city scene, this is it!

There’s no better time to celebrate Christmas spirit in the Northwest than with an escape cherished with family and friends. Experience the holidays in the cozy town of Langley this year and start a new tradition with a Christmas by the sea.

Ready to plan your holiday adventure to Langley direct from Seattle? Book your weekend getaway today at clippervacations.com.