Sea Lion Caves


One of the splendid things about taking a road trip is the random things you come across along the way. The American Roadside Attraction. Such as the Sea Lion Caves. Which apparently is actually pretty famous, or at least people know of it and make a point to go there. I just happened upon it. For the direction I was headed the parking lot was on the opposite side of the highway, so the visit started out by walking across the highway. Good times from the start.


They also had some suggestions of what to bring.

Entry was through a gift shop. The girl selling admission tickets was also doing a customer demographic survey, asking everyone where they came from and noting it down. In the pair of friends in front of me, one was local, the other was visiting from Chicago. When they’d moved away from the podium the girl asked me where Chicago was so she’d be able to put it down in the right spot on her paper. After that, when she asked me I just said Northern California.


Path to sea lion viewing area.


View of sea lions.


Zoom! Close-up of the writhing mass.

From the gift shop you go down some stairs and out onto the ocean facing hillside below the highway. There’s a path to the south to an overlook for sea lion viewing and one to the north to the elevator to go down into the cave. There’s only the one elevator, fortunately there was not much of a wait either on the way down or the way back up.



Path to the elevator.


The elevator was opened in 1961. It travels the equivalent of 20 stories in about 50 seconds.

Notes from the informative signage: It is one of the largest sea caves in the world, and the largest in America, with a two-acre floor and height of 125 feet. The viewing area is 35 feet above sea level and 300 feet below Highway 101. The cave was discovered in 1880 when Captain William Cox piloted his boat into the cave through the western opening to the ocean.


The space itself is really amazing. Then there is the sound of the ocean and the vocalizations of the sea lions. Quite mesmerizing and magical. I’m glad I stopped.


On the way out I did check out the gift shop. Found some nifty postcards and they had FUDGE. Had to get just a little bit of that. Yum!


Sea Lion Caves postcard of back in the day.

more pictures

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1 Response to Sea Lion Caves

  1. Pingback: RoadTrip 2012: Days 8 and 9 | 2m2t

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