• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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  • English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Summer Schedule

    The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily through September 1. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.

  • American Camp Visitor Center on Summer Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September 1. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m More »

  • Brief American and English Camps Visitor Center Closure

    The American and English camps visitor centers will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, August 27. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

California Sea Lion

A California sea lion calls at Grandma's Cove at American Camp.
Lucas Pellant

These are the playful "circus seals" you see in zoos, circuses, and aquariums, that are easily trained to bark, clap their flippers, and perform stunts with beach balls and hoops. They are also notorious for seizing fish from lines and nets of fishing boats.

While at sea, they dive almost continuously, and propel themselves quickly through the water with long, paddle-like foreflippers. On land, they hump along quickly on all four rotating hind flippers.

Look for them hauled out in large groups on the sandy or rocky beaches of American Camp. They also hang out in the water in groups called rafts. The best way to identify them is their color: dark brown to black; pointed, dog-like snouts; and, on males five years and older, the large bump on the forehead called a sagittal crest. Plus, they often extend their flippers above the water's surface to regulate their body heat.

Fast Facts_california sealion

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

James Alden, commander of the USCS Steamer Active, carried dispatches during the Pig War crisis. During the Battle of Mobile Bay he led the Union fleet into the harbor until stalled by Confederate mines. That's when Admiral David G. Farragut shouted "Damn the torpedoes..."