• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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  • English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Winter Schedule

    The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is closed for the season, starting September 2. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.

  • American Camp Visitor Center on Winter Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 2 to June 6, 2015. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Telephone 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2226 for information. More »

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?

West Valley Road on San Juan Island

Many of San Juan Island's roads trace sheep runs cut by Hudson's Bay Company workers. They were led, in part, by Fort Victoria Chief Factor and colonial Gov. James Douglas, from 1853 to 1859. Many of the workers were Cowichan Indians from Vancouver Island.