In 1859 the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of the island, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, and the confrontation began when an American farmer shot a pig that belonged to Britain’s Hudson Bay Company. The “Pig War” ended 12 years later with the American’s gaining control of the San Juan Islands.
American Camp National Park located on the southern most tip of San Juan Island is not to be missed during your visit. There are stunning hiking trails that take you through a large national prairie and down to South Beach, the longest public beach in the islands, with views to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains; others lead up through a cedar forest to 285-foot Mount Finlayson. Seasonal residence to more than 200 species of migratory birds, American Camp is home to a nesting pair of bald eagles that have 2 eaglets that are getting ready to fledge in the next couple of weeks. Red foxes abound and orcas are frequent visitors to the waters off South Beach. The park is located about a 15-minute drive from Friday Harbor or a rolling 9 mile bike ride.