Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary. I has been privately owned since 1887 and in business since 1932, when the last section of 101 Hwy was finally completed. The bridge over Cape Creek and the tunnel through to the bridge and the mile of road in front of the Caves was called the “Million Dollar Mile” as the cost to blast, tunnel, and bridge ran over a million dollars to complete in 1932.
Sea Lion Caves is America’s largest sea cave and the year-round home of the Steller sea lion; the largest of the six species of sea lions or Pinnipeds. Although Sea Lion Caves is the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, they are not always in the Cave. We are not a zoo so the local marine animals come and go as they choose. There is a cycle of life at Sea Lion Caves that makes the Caves a very unique and amazing attraction.
June is birthing and breeding season at the Caves. Most of the sea lion pups are born during June and within just a week of the birth, the moms mate with the bulls. The breeding season lasts usually through August. At that time, since the breeding bulls have not eaten for several months, will leave the area heading north to feed. Shortly thereafter and as soon as the new pups can swim, moms and pups may head south to islands off the Oregon/California border for several months, leaving the Caves without sea lions usually until December.
Usually near the first of December, the moms and pups return to the Cave for the winter months in the hundreds. It is not unusual during December through March to host 300 to 400 sea lions in the Cave daily. They will remain in the Cave until late April or early May. Once the big bulls return, usually late April or early May, the females leave the Cave and move to the Lookout. As I mentioned, they will remain there then until late August and the cycle starts again.
We are an important part of the Cape Perpetual Marine Reserve hosting not only sea lions, but many nesting birds both on the cliffs, rocks and in the Cave. Spring is a busy and special time for our nesting birds as the cormorants, sea gulls, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, and common murres come and go constituently feeding their numerous chicks. Bald Eagles and pelicans visit us often too. There is always something special happening here at the Caves.
We are nothing short of wild!
Sea Lion Caves
Florence, OR 97439
“Our mission is to exceed our guests’ expectations by consistently demonstrating exemplary customer service and to protect, preserve, support the local and extended community, and enhance this exceptional natural resource for future generations.”