The 2000 census population was 2,177, though the population swells in the summer, as second homes, rental houses and campsites fill up.
Lopez Island is flatter than most of the other major San Juan Islands. It is also the most rural of the larger islands, and has rolling terrain of forest, farmland, and beaches. The island is longest in the north-south direction.
Lopez Island is 29.81 square miles (77.2 km2) in land area.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lopez Island has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps, though many consider it oceanic.
During the Wilkes Expedition, Lopez Island was given the name Chauncey Island, after the American naval commander Isaac Chauncey. When the British reorganized the official admiralty naval charts in 1847, Henry Kellett systematically removed many of Wilkes's names. He renamed the island Lopez, for Gonzalo López de Haro, the Spanish naval officer who was the first European to discover the San Juan Islands archipelago.
These are the towns and communities on Lopez Island.
Economy and Tourism Edit
Lopez is home to a large number of tourist related businesses, largely country-style bed and breakfasts, many with ocean views. The commercial hub of Lopez Island is the town of Lopez Island, on the western shore of the island.
Lopez Island is a popular destination for bicycle tourists. Some of the roads, however, are narrow which can lead to occasional traffic and bicycle congestion. But overall the drivers are bicycle friendly and the roads are easier to ride than the other islands.
The island is locally famous for the longstanding custom of waving at every motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian encountered on the island's roads.
In 1996 Paul Allen bought a large Sperry Peninsula site on Lopez Island.
There are no highways on Lopez Island, and no bridges connecting to the mainland or other islands. The primary means of travel to and from Lopez Island is by Washington State Ferries. The ferry terminal at the extreme north end of the island. It is the first stop of four on the Washington State Ferries’ San Juan Islands run. A typical sailing from Anacortes takes approximately 40 minutes.
Lopez Island Airport is the main airstrip for the island, located on its west side, with daily commercial flights. Charter floatplanes land in Fisherman Bay at Fisherman Bay Seaplane Base, located approximately three-fourths mile north of the airport. A small airstrip called Windsock Airport also is located not far from the ferry terminal.
KLOI-LP is a local low-power FM radio station based on Lopez Island.