What Is It?
A colony of sea lions leave the ocean water to bask on the rocks of the Sea Lion Caves near Florence, Oregon.
The Sea Lion Caves are home year-round to Steller sea lions, or northern sea lions. The caves are America’s only known mainland Steller sea lion rookery and hauling area—
a congregation place during mating and nonmating season, respectively. If you visit on the right day, you can see hundreds of sea lions, as well as eagles and puffins.
A Big Cave
At 125 feet tall and covering nearly 2 acres, the Sea Lion Caves are America’s largest sea cave. Visitors can see the full cave system from an observation area. Colorful lichen covers the caves’ walls, making the caves America’s largest sea grotto.
Steller sea lions are part of the Otariidae family, or eared seals. These sea mammals have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years and can swim up to 17 mph. The average male grows to nearly 10 feet long and weighs 1,500 pounds, but some can weigh more than 2,200 pounds.
The Sea Lion Caves are along Highway 101, which follows the Pacific Coast. Take a trip up the highway, and you may see sea lions or even whales in open waters. Oregon’s beaches are publicly owned, so stop and take a walk on the sand.
To learn more about Steller sea lions, the Sea Lion Caves and to plan your trip, visit www.sealioncaves.com.