Sea Lion Caves – Florence, Oregon

Sea Lion Caves – Florence, Oregon

Are you looking for a sight of a lifetime?  Then go visit the Sea Lion Caves just outside of Florence Oregon.  Here you will find the world’s largest Sea Cave according to Guinness.  The cave offers an awe-inspiring, intimate view of Sea Lions in their natural habitat.

You will go down over 200 feet into the world’s largest and most fantastic sea cave.  The cave is the home of  the wild steller sea lion.  It is used primarily in the fall and winter months and is called the hauling area.

The rock ledge below the lookout located just outside the cave is the sea lions home during hte spring and summer, this is were they breed and bear their young.  They live in this area year around.

You will also be able to see sea birds, whales and more.  The Stellar Sea Lions are members of the Otariidae family, also known as the eared seal.  There are nearly 80,000 of them and their lifespan runs approximately 20 years.  When traveling the top speed they reach is 17 mph.  Of the 80,000 and average of 200 (a herd) live in the Sea Lion Caves region.

The Sea Lion is a warm-blooded mammal.  The are pinnipeds (literally, feather footed).  They have finlike members for propulsion and are carnivorous, eating mainly bottom fish such as skate, small sharks, squid and a variety of rock fish.

Sea Lions breed and bear their young in the spring, usually in May and June.  A rare case will have them breeding as late as July or even August.  The females generally bear every otehr year, as half-grown pups (what baby Sea Lions are called) have been seen nursing at their mother retractable dugs well past bearing time.  This Otaridae family pattern may be the reason young sea lions get a better diet and thus have a better chance of survival.

Sea lions pups are about four feet long at birth and weigh from 40 to 50 pounds. They are slate gray in color for about six months, turn dark brown until approximately two years of age, and they begin to assume the lighter tan color of the adult.

The birds in the area are the pigeon guillemot, a migratory bird, usually appears at Sea Lion Caves in early April when its mating season begins. It is similar in species to the murre of the East Coast, and is called “dovekie” by sailors, who often encounter it far out to sea.

The pigeon guillemot is black with white patches and markings on its wings. It has bright orangish-red feet which trail in flight, looking like a scarlet tail. Its voice, a shrill, hissing whistle, sounds much like a canary. The murre family of seabirds is fairly numerous throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but the particular variety found at Sea Lion Caves is rather rare.

You MAY get to see the Killer Whale in this area too.  The killer whale is not a frequent visitor to the Sea Lion Caves’ area; however, it is of considerable interest. This black and white mammal is one of the few sea mammals that attack other warm blooded sea life, and has been seen taking sea lions in the vicinity, although its hunting ground is generally farther north.

In the Pacific Ocean, the male killer whale attains a known length of about 27 feet and weighs an estimated 9 tons. A newborn calf is about eight feet long and weighs about 400 pounds.

Start your visit with a look at the statue “The Family”.   This bronze sculpture was dedicated in September 1982, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sea Lion Caves.

This unique sculpture is the first stop on your tour of the Sea Lion Caves. The backdrop of Heceta Head Lighthouse creates a truly memorable experience.

The Sea Lion Caves are open every day of the year with the exception of Thanksgiving na dChristmas Day.  It opens at 9 AM and ticket sales close at 5 PM.

Admission is:

  • $12.00 eachAdults:
  • $11.00 eachSeniors:
  • $8.00 eachChildren Ages 3 to 12:
  • FREE! Ages 2 and younger:
  • FREE! Parking:

Prices subject to change without notice.

In order to make the trip, you must go down as well as come back up 37 steps in our building to reach the outside trails. There are about 400 yards of uphill and downhill walking at a grade that ranges from 10% to 20%. You then reach the elevator that takes you down to the cave. There are also 63 steps in the cave in order to access the lighthouse viewpoint.