Spins of impurities in solids provide a unique architecture to realize quantum technologies. A quantum register of electron and nearby nuclear spins in the lattice encompasses high-fidelity state manipulation and readout, long-lived quantum memory, and long-distance transmission of quantum states by optical transitions that coherently connect spins and photons. These features, combined with solid-state device engineering, establish impurity spins as promising resources for quantum networks, information processing and sensing. Focusing on optical methods for the access and connectivity of single spins, we review recent progress in impurity systems such as colour centres in diamond and silicon carbide, rare-earth ions in solids and donors in silicon. We project a possible path to chip-scale quantum technologies through sustained advances in nanofabrication, quantum control and materials engineering.