Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary. It has been in operation since 1932 protecting and preserving this amazing natural resource. The Cave itself is America's larges see cave and the year-round home of Steller and California sea lions. We are not a zoo, so the wild sea lions come and go according to their lifestyle. Rare birds nest here and gray whales are observed frequently.

Where the Whales Are

Research has indicated that over 100 gray whales spend the summer along the Oregon Coast and they are frequent visitors here at Sea Lion Caves. During January and February humpback whales can be seen migrating through our area too. Sea Lion Caves is a whale of a place to view whales.

When To See Sea Lions

The normal pattern of life of the Steller sea lion at Sea Lion Caves is as follows:

  • Late November through April we will have hundreds in the Cave
  • From late April until early August sea lions will be found on the birthing and breeding rock ledges outside of the Cave
  • From late August until Thanksgiving, we will have few if any sea lions in or near the Cave.

We are not a zoo, so the sea lions come and go as they please.

Bird Sanctuary

Sea Lions Caves and the surrounding Heceta Head area is the nesting home of several marine birds; pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, oyster catchers, Brant and Pelagic cormorants, several types of sea gulls, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons,  brown pelicans, ospreys, and many more. The birds at Sea Lion Caves are as amazing to view and enjoy.

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

91560 Hwy 101
Florence, OR
(541) 547-3111


9:00am to dusk

Park Information

Sea Lion Caves has the cleanest restrooms on the Oregon Coast. We have snacks and drinks for purchase in our clean and comfortable gift shop. Merchandise is reasonably priced. Cell phone charging is available and we are "bike friendly." We have regular and RV parking available free. We are a wonderful place to view whales.


  • restrooms
  • telephone

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

Marine Mammals Rarely Seen Here

Travel Tips

Our site is visitor friendly. Dress warmly, wear comfortable walking shoes for walking pathways and some stairs, bring binoculars, and it does rain in Oregon. There are 37 stairs to negotiate to get to our pathways. Handicapped bathrooms are available.

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries