Sea Lion Caves Oregon History, Ticket Price, Things to Do, Webcam, and Best Time to Visit

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The Sea Lion Caves are a natural wonder located in Florence, Oregon. They are home to a large colony of sea lions and offer visitors a unique opportunity to see these animals up close. The caves are also a popular spot for birdwatching, as they are home to a variety of seabirds.

Sea Lion Caves Oregon
Sea Lion Caves Oregon

In this article, we will look at key information, History, Ticket Prices, and Things to do at the Sea Lion Caves Oregon.

Consider reading: 15 Best Things to Do in Lincoln City

Sea Lion Caves Oregon Key Information

Location91560 US-101, Florence, OR 97439, United States
Opening TimesOpen every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (hours may vary seasonally)
FeaturesThe largest sea cave in America, home to a colony of sea lions, offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean
Best time to visitWinter and spring (December through May) for sea lion viewing, summer (June through August) for warmest temperatures, shoulder season (April, May, September, and October) for fewer crowds
AmenitiesGift shop, restrooms, picnic area, and wheelchair accessible
ContactPhone: (541) 547-3111, Email: [email protected]
Sea Lion Caves Oregon Key Information

Sea Lion Caves Oregon Ticket Price and Tours

Adults (18-64)$18.00
Seniors (65+)$17.00
Children (5-12)$12.00
Children under 5Free
Sea Lion Caves Oregon Ticket Price

Things to Do at Sea Lion Caves Oregon

In addition to observing the sea lions and exploring the cave, there are other activities to enjoy at Sea Lion Caves.

The visitor center features a gift shop with unique souvenirs, educational exhibits, and a video presentation on the history and geology of the cave.

There are also guided tours available for those who want a more in-depth experience. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide fascinating insights into the cave’s history, geology, and marine life.

Things to Do Near Sea Lion Caves

While the Sea Lion Caves are a must-see, the Oregon Coast offers a plethora of other exciting activities just a stone’s throw away. Enhance your adventure with these nearby attractions:

  1. Heceta Head Lighthouse: Just 1.2 miles away, this historic lighthouse offers breathtaking views and a charming bed and breakfast experience.
  2. Hobbit Trail: Embark on a whimsical hike through this 3.1-mile scenic trail, leading to a beautiful secluded beach.
  3. Sand Master Park: Experience the thrill of sandboarding at the world’s first sandboard park, spanning 40 acres with a variety of boards for rent, located 7.6 miles away.
  4. Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint: A mere mile from the caves, this park boasts fascinating tide pools, unique rock formations, and a serene picnic area.
  5. Darlingtonia State Natural Site: Discover the intriguing world of carnivorous plants with the rare cobra lily, just 5.3 miles from the caves.
  6. C & M Stables: For horse enthusiasts, enjoy guided beach and forest trail rides at this ranch, 2.5 miles from the caves.
  7. Ocean Dunes Golf Links: Challenge yourself at this scenic 18-hole golf course, complete with a pro shop, located 8.7 miles away.
  8. Three Rivers Casino: Try your luck at this vibrant casino resort with over 700 slot machines, table games, and dining options, 9.8 miles from the caves.
  9. City Lights Cinemas: Catch the latest blockbusters and indie films at this cinema, situated 9.4 miles away.
  10. Oregon Coast Military Museum: Immerse yourself in regional military history through fascinating exhibits and artifacts, located 9.3 miles from the caves.

From historic landmarks and nature trails to thrilling recreational activities and cultural experiences, the area around Sea Lion Caves is brimming with diverse attractions to explore.

Consider reading: Best Things to Do in Florence Oregon

History of Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves was discovered in 1880 by a local seaman named R. W. Davis. At the time, it was known as the “Sea Lion Rookery.”

The Discovery (1880):

  • Discoverer: Captain William Cox, a local fisherman.
  • First Encounter: A breathtaking sight of hundreds of sea lions.
  • Innovation: Cox purchased the land and constructed a trail and wooden staircase for public access.

The Transformation into a Tourist Haven (1927-1932):

  • New Ownership: R.E. Clanton, along with J.G. Houghton and J.E. Jacobson.
  • Development: Blasted a tunnel, installed a 208-foot elevator, and added a gift shop and parking.
  • Grand Opening: Welcomed its first visitors in 1932.

Significance and Legacy:

  • Prestige: The oldest privately owned attraction on the Oregon Coast and one of the oldest in the U.S.
  • Remarkable Size: The largest sea cave in America, towering 12 stories high and as wide as a football field.

Summary: From its discovery in 1880 to its establishment as a premier tourist destination in 1932, the Sea Lion Caves stand as a symbol of natural beauty and historical significance, attracting visitors from around the world to witness its grandeur.

Unique Facts about Sea Lion Caves Oregon

Here is a list of unique facts about Sea Lion Caves Oregon:

  1. Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary since 1932.
  2. It is the largest sea cave in the world, standing about 12 stories high and as wide as a football field.
  3. The cave is the year-round home of the endangered Steller sea lion species.
  4. Sea Lion Caves was discovered in 1880 by Oregon ship captain William Cox, who later opened it to the public in 1932.
  5. Visitors can descend 208 feet to the base of the cave using an elevator added in 1961.
  6. Depending on the season, sea lions can be seen outside the cave sunning themselves or taking refuge inside during winter.
  7. The cave is also home to various other wildlife, including osprey, whales, bald eagles, cormorants, and puffins.
  8. Sea Lion Caves offers a lighthouse viewpoint that provides a scenic view of the nearby Heceta Head Lighthouse, located one mile to the north.

How to Get to Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves is located on the central Oregon Coast, 11 miles north of Florence and 41 miles south of Newport on U.S. Highway 101. The address is 91560 Highway 101, Florence, OR, 97439. The cave is situated in a steep and rugged seascape, 300 feet above sea level, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Location Details:

  • Address: 91560 Highway 101, Florence, OR, 97439
  • Geographic Highlight: Perched 300 feet above the Pacific Ocean along the rugged seascape.

Your Route to Adventure:

  1. From Portland:
    • Route: Interstate 5 South (Exit 195-B) → Highway 126 West → Highway 101 North
    • Distance: 11 miles north of Florence on Highway 101
  2. From Eugene:
    • Route: Highway 126 West → Highway 101 North
    • Distance: 11 miles north of Florence
  3. From Salem:
    • Route: Highway 22 West → Highway 18 West → Highway 101 South
    • Distance: Approximately 90 miles south on Highway 101
  4. From Bend:
    • Route: Highway 20 West → Highway 126 West → Highway 101 North
    • Distance: 11 miles north of Florence on Highway 101

Whether you’re traveling from Portland, Eugene, Salem, or Bend, reaching Sea Lion Caves is a scenic and straightforward journey along the beautiful Oregon Coast. Positioned on Highway 101, the caves are conveniently located 11 miles north of Florence and 41 miles south of Newport.

Consider reading: Oregon Road Trip: Best Places to Visit, 10 Days Itinerary, and Map

Best Time to Visit Sea Lion Caves, Oregon

The best time to visit Sea Lion Caves in Oregon is during the summer months, between June and September.

During this time, the weather is generally milder and more predictable, and you’ll have a better chance of spotting sea lions in the caves. It’s also the peak tourist season, so there may be more crowds and longer wait times.

If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of May or October, when the weather is still mild but there are fewer visitors. However, keep in mind that sea lion activity may be less predictable during these times.

How to check Sea Lion Caves Oregon Webcam

Before you plan your visit to the Sea Lion Caves Oregon, make sure to check the Sea Lion Caves Oregon Webcam. Here are some ways you can check the webcam:

  1. Sea Lion Caves official website: Now this site doesn’t just give you a cool webcam shot that’s refreshed every 15 minutes, but you can learn a bunch of fun facts about the caves’ history, wildlife, and attractions. You might even catch a glimpse of sea lions chilling on the rocks. Sweet, right?
  2. WorldCam: The worldcam updates the view every 10 minutes, offering you a different perspective of the cave and ocean. Plus, you can check out some other webcams from nearby spots like Yachats, Newport, and Florence. It’s like virtually traveling along the Oregon Coast!
  3. Animal Cameras: What’s cooler than a webcam that updates every 5 minutes? A site where you can explore a world of other animal webcams too! So if you’re done admiring the sea lions and want to spy on some other creatures, this is your stop.
  4. Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute: And last but not least, here you can watch a live stream of sea lions at a dock near Newport, hanging out, having fun, and doing their sea lion thing. Besides, you can also learn about the amazing research and conservation efforts the institute is involved in.

Tips for Visiting Sea Lion Caves Oregon

If you’re planning a visit to Sea Lion Caves, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure to dress in warm layers, as the cave can be quite chilly.

Also, be prepared for a steep climb up to the observation platform as well as a bumpy elevator ride down to the cave floor. It’s also important to respect the sea lions and other marine life in the cave.

Visitors should stay at least 10 feet away from the animals and avoid making loud noises or sudden movements that could startle them.

Consider reading: Top 9 Best Things to Do in Brookings Oregon

Final Thoughts on Sea Lion Caves Oregon

Sea Lion Caves is a remarkable attraction that showcases the beauty and diversity of the Oregon Coast. It is not only a stunning geological formation but also a vital habitat for the endangered Steller sea lions and other wildlife. By visiting Sea Lion Caves, you can learn more about the history, location, wildlife, tours, and activities of this natural wonder, as well as some frequently asked questions and resources for learning more about it.

Whether you are a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, or a curious traveler, Sea Lion Caves will offer you a memorable and educational experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the world’s largest sea caves and the only mainland rookery of Steller sea lions in the contiguous United States. Book your tickets today and discover why Sea Lion Caves is a must-see destination on the Oregon Coast.

FAQs on Sea Lion Caves Oregon

What time of year are the sea lions in the cave in Oregon?

Sea lions frequent the cave in Oregon primarily during the winter and spring months. This period serves as their natural breeding ground and rookery, where they are often found resting and socializing inside the cave, exhibiting their wild and unconfined behavior.

How long does it take to go through the Sea Lion Caves?

Exploring the Sea Lion Caves typically takes 45 minutes to 2 hours. This duration allows visitors adequate time to enjoy the sea lions and other natural attractions within the cave, discovered in 1880. Experience time may vary based on individual interest and pace.

How much does Sea Lion Caves cost?

Tours of Sea Lion Caves are self-guided and cost $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for children 5 to 12, and free for children 4 and younger. The caves are open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, except on some holidays. The tour involves some walking and climbing, and takes about an hour.

What is the best time of year for Sea Lion Caves Oregon?

The best time to visit Sea Lion Caves Oregon for maximum sea lion activity is during winter. Sea lions leave the cave as breeding season approaches in spring, residing in rookeries and outdoor haul-out areas along the Coast until seeking shelter within the cave during stormy weather in fall. Enjoy the best sea lion sightings during the winter months.

Are there sea lions at Sea Lion Caves Oregon?

Yes, Sea Lion Caves Oregon is home to hundreds of Steller sea lions. Located along Highway 101, it is America’s largest sea cave and offers a scenic stop. Visitors can witness the sea lions lounging around the rocky interior all year round.

Are the Sea Lion Caves free?

No, Sea Lion Caves is not free. However, it is an all-natural wildlife preserve and marine sanctuary where animals are not caged or penned, allowing them to freely move around. Experience the beauty of these sea creatures by purchasing tickets for a memorable visit.

Can I take photos at Sea Lion Caves Oregon?

Yes, photography is allowed at Sea Lion Caves. However, flash photography is not allowed, as it can startle sea lions.

Are there any food or dining options at Sea Lion Caves Oregon?

There are no dining options at Sea Lion Caves Oregon, but there are picnic tables available near the parking area where visitors can bring their own food and enjoy a meal with a scenic view of the coastline.

Is Sea Lion Caves Oregon accessible for people with disabilities?

While the elevator down to the cave floor is wheelchair accessible, the observation platform at the top of the cave requires climbing a set of stairs, which may not be suitable for individuals with mobility limitations.

Can I see sea lions at Sea Lion Caves Oregon all year round?

Yes, the Steller sea lions can be seen at Sea Lion Caves Oregon throughout the year. However, the number of sea lions present may vary depending on the season, as they may migrate to other locations during certain times of the year.

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