• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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  • Park on Spring Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Wednesday-Sunday. The English Camp contact station is closed through May 31. Grounds at both units are open from dawn to 11 p.m. More »

California Sea Lion

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?

Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, RN

Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby of HMS Tribune refused Governor James Douglas’s orders to land Royal Marines on San Juan Island realizing that his opposite, Capt. George Pickett, would open fire. The policy of the Royal Navy was only to fire if fired upon. More...