3.5
14 votes

Sea Lion Caves

91560 U.S. 101, Florence, Oregon 97439 USA

$$
$$$$
Reasonable
Open Now
Sun 9a-6p

“America's largest sea cave”

Sea Lion Caves is nature's home for wild sea lions and a variety of sea birds. Sea Lion Caves is located 11 miles North of Florence on the Oregon Coast. The vast cavern with the roar of the great Steller sea lions, the cries of the wailing birds, and the restless surge of the ocean into the cave below, form an unforgettable experience. The cave system is at sea level and the ocean continually washes into the main cavern which has a floor area of about 2 acres (0.81 ha) and a vaulted rock dome about 125 feet (38 m) high. Southward from the main chamber, a low passage runs 1,000 feet (300 m) to a sea level opening. This corridor is flooded at high tide and free of water at low tide. The western entrance is a short, high passage through which the ocean washes at all tide levels. At the north, a third entrance is about 50 feet (15 m) above the ocean which serves as an elevated observation area where the entire underground cave system and its wildlife are visible. Lichens, algae, and mineral stains cover the cavern walls with greens, pinks, purples, buffs, and reds on the rough surfaces some of which are named Lincoln's Head, the Indian Maiden, and The Goddess of Liberty. The sea level portion of this cave and the sea cliff rocks just outside the cave have become, over the centuries, the only known mainland rookery and hauling area (wintering home) of the Stellar Sea Lion and—to a lesser extent—the California Sea Lion. The high vault is a natural resting place for sea birds. Many birds make their home at or near the Sea Lion Caves such as the Pigeon Guillemot, Brandt's Cormorant, Western, Herring, and California Gulls, Tufted Puffins, and the occasional hawk or Bald Eagle. Sea Lion Caves is one of the great sea grottos of the world, comparable in size and coloration to the famed Blue Grotto in the Mediterranean. The whale watching deck, located below the gift shop, permits a seaward view of approximately 20 miles (32 km). The deck is at an elevation of 300 feet (91 m), making it a popular whale watching post. Typically, orcas are seen migrating once a year past the Sea Lion Caves, whereas the Grey Whale is seen anywhere from a few months to all year long. Small groups sometimes end their migration in the immediate vicinity, feeding very close to the shore.

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Reviewed by
Brad

  • 14 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 24, 2016
Rated 2.0

It was pretty expensive($14/adult) for what it is. It was cool to see, but not worth what it cost for a family of 5. Parking is downright dangerous! Its located across the street with no tunnel, bridge, or even a crosswalk to get you across busy highway 101. Its also located on a blind curve so you must run across the highway and take your chances.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
bturner

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 24, 2014

we didn't see any sea lions, there are supposedly hundreds during winter

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
hmjohnson

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 28, 2014

Our 8 and 10 year old daughters thought this was a great place. It is a bit expensive, but they got to see lots of sea lions.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
MT1932MT

  • 17 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
March 14, 2014

We were there when there was no sea lions in the caves. Saw a couple floating off in the distance. Pretty expensive even though they discounted us for not seeing any sea lions. However we Saw whale off the coast that made it all worth it. A bit of a tourist trap.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
rosetfam4

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 28, 2016
Rated 4.0

Fun for the kids. There were about 20 sea lions in the cave and 30 outside from the viewing deck.

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Reviewed by
Sam

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 02, 2015
Rated 5.0

Some of my favorite memories are from this place here ve always loved sea lions and so on, & on a trip to Oregon little 14 year old me found this glorious place... Now the 18yo me is dragging her friends to see it too lol :)

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Reviewed by
chris.bailey.7967747

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 06, 2015
Rated 3.0

Neat cave, cool to see some sea lions, but overall just a tourist trap. They charge like they have to feed the sea lions to keep them there or something.

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Reviewed by
ashorter1993

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 10, 2015
Rated 5.0

Went in May during breeding season they were all out of the cave but still saw tons on the ledges outside of the cave. They were real active fighting each other and interacting. It was a great experience and probably the most entertaining wildlife we saw on our whole US round trip.

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Reviewed by
A Jaunt With Joy

  • Road Warrior
  • 119 Reviews
  • 29 Helpful
January 17, 2015
Rated 4.0

Go in winter! We went in February and saw tons of them! So neat.

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Reviewed by
Aschoeppe

  • 16 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
September 29, 2014
Rated 2.0

No sealions for us either :( they gave us a one year rain check to come back. Although the caves were still cool to see

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Sea Lion Caves

91560 U.S. 101
Florence, Oregon
97439 USA

Hours

Open now until 6:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

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  • Free Parking
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