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Sea Lion Caves, Florence

3.5
#1 of 9 in Parks in Florence
The largest system of sea caves in the United States, Sea Lion Caves offers the chance to view sea lions up close in their natural habitat. Formed nearly 25 million years ago, the cave measures about 0.8 hectares (2 acres) and is 38 m (125 ft) high. Several caverns connected together by corridors make up the cave system. The Stellar Sea Lions and the California Sea Lions who make this cave their home are truly wild, so they move around freely. Staff can’t guarantee a sighting, but they recommend checking these four areas where the sea lions tend to hang out: in the cave, in the water, at the lookout or rookery, and on nearby rock ledges. Call ahead to confirm whether the sea lions are in the cave on the day of your visit. Even if they’re not, the impressive cave alone is worth a trip. Put Sea Lion Caves into our Florence trip maker site to see other points of interest to visit during your vacation in Florence.
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Sea Lion Caves Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
1,567 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Love, love, love the caves. Be ready for the fishy smell but the experience is a do not miss! Yes they direct you through the gift shop, but I expected that. Take the time to see the outside shore....  more »
  • This attraction has been around for decades. They installed an elevator in 1961 to take visitors down 200 feet to view a huge underground cave, with two accesses to the sea, where hundreds of sea...  more »
  • Tucked away many floors down a lift shaft is this dark and wild cave which is full of sea lions. It was nice and chilly throughout the visit in december and the sea breeze blew right through the...  more »
Google
  • Great price for a very unique sightseeing experience. It is is typically $14 for adult admission and your receipt is good for free entry for a year if you can make it back. Though we went during a time of year that the Sea Lions don't use the caves (mid-September), there were still plenty hanging out on the cliffs, and the cave itself is a beautiful sight to behold even sans Sea Lions. For a tourist attraction that requires very little time or money, this was an excellent stop and well worth it.
  • I remembered going here as a child and absolutely loving it so of course it was on the top of the list of things we wanted to do with our children. It was just okay. It is supposed to be the biggest gathering of Sea Lions outside of New Zealand but they are kept far enough away from you we did not feel like we were really able to get their magnitude. Plus, it cost our family of four almost $60 to get in! And that was without a single extra, without food, or any souvenirs. And we were there less than an hour. It is amazing to see these animals but you do have to weigh out the cost. Also, even though it has an elevator to one of the two sides I would give it a C- on ADA friendly. The real catch was that the next day we were in San Francisco and they had probably 30 Sea Lions just hanging out and playing/fighting and barking on the dock. It was totally free and a much better and closer show. You just cannot count on them being there unlike the ones in OR.
  • I thought it was interesting and worth the visit. We were able to see the sea lions in both areas - in the cave and on the other side, at the observation area. The property was very clean and well kept despite all the sea birds that live there. The handrails and sidewalks are obviously cleaned which I appreciate. I was worried about the smell based on some stories I've heard but I only got a couple occasional whiffs - nothing too bad and it certainly didn't interfere with our visit. You're dealing with wild animals on the ocean so it's to be expected, regardless. The price didn't seem that bad until you stop and consider that visiting the local zoo all day and seeing hundreds of animals would only cost a few dollars more. We took our time, admired the sea lions at both areas, read the educational material, checked out the lighthouse viewpoint, and took family photos. We might have been there an hour? I probably won't go back on my own but I would recommend it to others and I would take someone who hasn't been, once. It's a nice little pit stop on a road trip. Go in the morning and beat the crowds. We went on a Thursday morning and it was perfect - just starting to pick up when we left. It would definitely not be as enjoyable with a crowd as there are only a couple small viewing areas. Although there wasn't anything wrong with my visit, I just can't rate it any higher because of the price point.
  • I had hoped to get there this year on our trip to Seattle and Portland, but we never made it that far down the coast in Oregon. I had to check the website and the seals aren't in the caves yet. When I was there last time it was late October the seals were in the cave. There's really nothing to see if the seals are not in the cave. If they are in the cave do stop because there's no experience like it elsewhere that I know of. We were there the first time we thought it was well worth the cost to take the elevator down. Sound of the seals is amazing in that cave.
  • Hundreds of sea lions enjoying life in their natural habitat. It's so beautiful and the view of the lighthouse is amazing. We went when it was raining but still had a great time. Wear comfy shoes.
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