You won't regret making the trip to the world famous Oregon Sea Lion Caves. Located just a few minutes north of Florence Oregon on Highway US101, the Sea Lion Caves is a large sea cave which is the natural home to hundreds of Stellar Sea Lions, birds, and other wildlife found on the Oregon Coast.
This unique and family friendly Oregon Coast attraction is a must see. Easy to get to and a fun experience. Our kids love it and so will yours.
The Oregon Sea Lion Caves is open all year, including holidays. So you don't have to worry about showing up and this Oregon attraction being closed.
You will probably have to park across the street on the east side of Highway US101. And if you have an RV, or if you are towing a trailer that is the only place to park. When crossing the highway watch your little ones because the traffic tends to speed around the bends of the highway.
Walk into the gift shop to purchase tickets. Before you take the elevator down into the caves, we recommend that you get your picture next to the infamous "Seal Statue". And then walk down the asphalt paths to the outside observation platforms.
The View from Outside at the Observation Decks
The scenery of the Oregon Coast from the observation decks at the Oregon Sea Lion Caves is incredible. On clear days you can see forever. But even on cloudy, stormy days, you can still see for miles up and down the Oregon Coast.
To the south from the observation deck, you will see the endless unspoiled and undeveloped coast line disappearing south into the haze.
From the observation decks looking west you can see Steller sea lions frolicking in the surf, wild sea birds including the rare pigeon guillemot, and if you are especially lucky, you may even see whales on their annual migration!
And looking north from the observation decks, the coast curves around to the east, and where the land comes back out to meet the sea, at two large haystack rocks, you will see a spectacular view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
(The small building in the picture to the left with the pink roof houses the elevator that takes you down into the Caves.)
Tip! The ocean breezes can be brisk even downright cold and windy on the observation decks. Bring a light jacket on even the warmest days! And bring a pair of binoculars. You will see nesting birds, sea lions feeding and swimming in the ocean down below, and if there are whales off the coast, you may see them spouting as they come up for air.
Getting Inside the Caves
After watching the sea lions feeding and swimming in the surf down below, walk down the asphalt ramp you see here, north towards the gift shop and take the elevator down to see the sea lion caves from the inside.
The elevator descends over 200 feet down into a small cave which is attached to the larger Sea Lion Caves.
The sea lions use the sea caves as their home in the fall and winter months.
During this time, the cave is simply full of hundreds of noisy, barking, and bellowing Steller sea lions! The noise of so many sea lions is simply incredible. You have to see it and hear it to believe it! And the odor is rather strong too! It is obvious that Steller Sea Lions eat a lot of fish!
Tip! Cameras are allowed inside the sea lion caves, but no flash is permitted. If you want to take pictures, bring a camera with fast film or an adjustable digital camera. Or you can purchase pictures from the gift shop.
Here is a great short video I found on YouTube that I think you will like that shows what you will see inside the Sea Lion Caves:
Sea Lion Rookery
The Steller sea lions breed and have their young pups on rock ledges just outside the Sea Lion Caves in the spring and summer. These outside rock ledges are the Steller sea lion’s rookery. You can see some sea lions inside the caves during this time, but most are outside of the caves and either breeding or raising their young sea lion pups at the rookeries.
Tip! The best view of the sea lion rookery in the spring and summer is from the outside observation decks.
Look closely at the sea rookery down below (you remembered your binoculars didn’t you?!) and you will see the male Steller sea lions, called bulls, guarding their harem of several female sea lions. The sea lion bulls can weigh as much as one ton! And they use their bulk and bellowing to drive away any other bulls that may try to take their cows.
Make it a Point to Visit
The Oregon Coast Sea Lion Caves is truly a memorable attraction. For the photographer, it offers spectacular views of the coastline scenery from the outside observation decks. For the kids and the kid in all of us, you get up close and personal to live sea lions. It is rather fun to just watch the sea lions in the cave.
Not a “Quick” Stop Attraction!
Be prepared to spend a couple of hours at the attraction. And do not tell your kids this is educational – even though it is.
The Oregon Sea Lion Caves is located at 91560 Highway 101, in Florence, Oregon. For hours, give them a call at 541-547-3111. You can also visit their website at www.sealioncaves.com (Clicking this link opens a new window.) And when you go there, please tell them that you heard about them from the Great Oregon Coast Vacations website!