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Lopez Island/USA

Introducing Lopez Island

While some of the smaller San Juans are known for their standoffish 'No Trespassing' signs, Lopez – or Slow-pez as it's sometimes known – is the ultimate friendly isle where local motorists give strangers the 'Lopezian wave' (two fingers raised from the steering wheel) and you can leave your bike outside the village store and it'll still have both wheels when you return several hours later.

Though less well set-up for tourism than its two more populous neighbors, Lopez's tight-knit community and well-organized infrastructure offer a surprisingly varied selection of campgrounds and B&Bs. Lopez village is the island's centerpiece, a pin-prick of a settlement that holds a weekly summer farmers market and boasts a couple of enterprising restaurants, while a couple of miles to the north, Lopez Island Vineyards showcases the island's local wine production.

Every April Lopez stages the ironically named Tour de Lopez, a laid-back noncompetitive cycle race where winning is incidental. The balloons are out again on July 4, when the island temporarily breaks out of its sleepy stupor to host what is, allegedly, the state's most electrifying firework display.