Eight county parks, one state park, and numerous preserves provide plenty of access to the woods and water on Lopez Island. The first park off the ferry is Odlin County Park (tel. 360/378-8420 for information, or 360/378-1842 for reservations; www.co.san-juan.wa.us/parks/lopez.html), which has a long beach, picnic tables, and a campground. Athletic fields make this more a community sports center than a natural area, so it's really a last-resort camping choice. Campsites are $13 to $20 per night.
A more natural setting for a short, easy hike is Upright Channel Park, on Military Road (about a mile north of Lopez Village in the northwest corner of the island). Right in Lopez Village, you can walk out into the marshes at the 22-acre Weeks Wetland Preserve. The trail through the wetlands begins on Weeks Point Way just behind the little shopping complex that houses Holly B's Bakery. There are a few interpretive plaques along the trail.
A little farther south and over on the east side of the island, you'll find Spencer Spit State Park (tel. 360/468-2251; www.parks.wa.gov), which has a campground. Here, the forest meets the sea on a rocky beach that looks across a narrow channel to Frost Island. You can hike the trails through the forest or explore the beach.
South of Lopez Village on Bay Shore Road is the small Otis Perkins Park, which is between Fisherman Bay and the open water. It has one of the longest beaches on the island. Continuing to the end of this road (it turns to gravel) will bring you to the Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve at the end of the spit that forms the mouth of Fisherman Bay. This preserve has trails and access to the beach along the sandy spit. It's one of the prettiest and most serene spots on the island; don't miss it.
Down at the south end of Lopez, you'll find the tiny Shark Reef Sanctuary, where a short trail leads through the forest to a rocky stretch of coast that is among the prettiest on any of the ferry-accessible islands. Small offshore islands create strong currents that swirl past the rocks here. Seals and the occasional whale can be seen just offshore as well. It's a great spot for a picnic. To reach this natural area, drive south from Lopez Village on Fisherman Bay Road, turn right on Airport Road, and then turn left onto Shark Reef Road.
Also down toward the south end of the island, you'll find the Watmaugh Bay Preserve, which protects a beautiful little cove that is a well-guarded local secret. The cove has a 100-yard-long gravel beach and is bordered on one side by cliffs and on the other by forest. The beach is a short, easy walk on a wide path. To reach the trail-head parking area, drive Fisherman Bay Road south from Lopez Village, turn right on Center Road and right again on Mud Bay Road, and follow this road through twists and turns to a right onto Aleck Bay Road. When this latter road makes a 90-degree curve to the right, go straight onto a gravel road and quickly fork left onto Watmaugh Head Road for 3/4 of a mile to a left into the signed Watmaugh Bay Preserve.
Because of its size, lack of traffic, numerous parks, and relatively flat terrain, Lopez is a favorite of cyclists. You can rent bikes for $5 to $20 an hour or $25 to $65 a day from Lopez Bicycle Works, 2847 Fisherman Bay Rd. (tel. 360/468-2847; www.lopezbicycleworks.com), at the marina on Fisherman Bay Road.
To explore the island's coastline by kayak, contact Cascadia Kayak Tours (tel. 360/468-3008; www.cascadiakayaktours.com), which offers trips of varying lengths along some of the most picturesque stretches of the Lopez coastline. A half-day trip costs $60, full-day trips are $85, and sunset paddles are $35. Alternatively, May through October, you can rent a kayak from Lopez Island Sea Kayak (tel. 360/468-2847; www.lopezkayaks.com) at the marina on Fisherman Bay Road. Single kayaks rent for $15 to $25 per hour, $30 to $50 per half-day. Double kayaks rent for $25 to $35 per hour, $50 to $70 per half-day. This company also offers tours ($75 for a half-day, $35 for sunset tours that are offered in July and Aug).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.