- Mon: 9am-5pm
- Tue: 9am-5pm
- Wed: 9am-5pm
- Thu: 9am-5pm
- Fri: 9am-5pm
- Sat: 9am-5pm
- Sun: 9am-5pm
The privately owned Sea Lion Caves is part of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve for wildlife and birds. As America's largest sea cave, the location serves as year-round shelter to a large colony of Steller sea lions free to come and go as they like. The cave, which formed about 25 million years ago, is as long as a football field and as tall as a 12-story building.
Best and worst time to go to the Sea Lion Caves
The best time to visit the cave is during the fall and winter when sea lions are more likely to be inside the natural amphitheater. During the spring and summer the creatures migrate to the rookery -- rock ledges outside the cave -- to breed and give birth. Staff at the Sea Lion Caves urge those who visit in the fall and winter to dress warmly, as the cave is prone to be drafty and damp.
Must see/do at the Sea Lion Caves
Those who are interested in the biology and anatomy of sea lions should be sure to take a look at the skeleton on display at Sea Lion Caves. On permanent loan from the Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport, the skeleton was a 3-year-old female Steller sea lion when she died after sustaining a fatal gunshot wound. The skeleton is more than 7 feet long.
Admission to the Sea Lion Caves
Tickets to the cave range in price from free to children age 4 and younger to $14 for adults. Admission for seniors is $13 per person, while children ages 5 to 12 may enter for $8 each.
Parking at the Sea Lion Caves
Parking is free and located just across U.S. Highway 101 from the cave and entry area. There is plenty of RV parking as well.
Public Transportation to the Sea Lion Caves
There is no regular public transportation available to Sea Lion Caves.
Food at the Sea Lion Caves
There is no food available at the attraction. However, there are many restaurants, cafes and grocery stores in the city of Florence, which is located about 11 miles south of the attraction.
Insider tip for visitors to the Sea Lion Caves
Those who plan to visit Sea Lion Caves should be prepared to walk down and back up a flight of stairs consisting of 37 steps to reach outside trails, followed by about 400 yards of pathway that includes uphill and downhill grades of 10 to 20 percent. At this point, visitors reach the elevator that transports them to the cave. The cave is not wheelchair-accessible.
Author's bio: LeeAnn Neal is a journalist, blogger and Pacific Northwest native.