Visit the Sea Lions Before They Depart for the Summer!

Newport’s largest residents prepare to make their annual journey south

One of the first things you’ll hear as you stroll through Newport’s Historic Bayfront is the constant barking, yelping and grunting of the sea lions who call the Bayfront home for much of the year. The sounds of their bawling and moaning becomes louder as you walk closer to the public pier just behind Clearwater Restaurant, right next to Undersea Gardens. Although the giant mammals sound as if they are in agony, they are actually trying to establish a sort of dominance for space on the docks below.

When you look down from the pier, you’ll see dozens of the large animals flopping out of the water onto the docks that were specially renovated just for them. The sea lions spend a portion of their day hauling themselves onto the docks for some of the prime real estate above the bay, where they roll around and air-out until a larger animal is able to push them back into the water and take their spot. Unlike the graceful maneuvers that they display in the water, the furry, dog-like sea lions appear awkward and clumsy as they roll around on the docks.

Yaquina Bay is the traditional home of these California sea lions for much of the year, and hundreds of the animals swim around the bay in search of food. The sea lion docks are one of the best spots in the bay for the animals to rest in between meals, but you’ll also see them on the rock piles around the bay floundering around just above the waterline. You may also see them swimming around the bay in search of the abundant fish populations that are easier to catch than those in the Pacific Ocean.

The sea lions that spend much of the year in Yaquina Bay are all males, and stay in the northern waters for much of the year because the food supply here is more plentiful. Female sea lions live in Southern California year-round at their traditional breeding grounds, and the males head south just once a year for breeding season. The male sea lions travel to California and spend four to five weeks there in June and July, so they will be heading south very soon.

Come say goodbye to the sea lions and wish them well on their journey! Take some photos, and maybe even a selfie with them if you can get the angle right from atop Port Dock One at 325 SW Bay Blvd. Look for the donation box of the Sea Lion Docks Foundation down on the pier, and drop in some change to help treat injured sea lions, maintain the docks and educate the public about Newport’s favorite big boys.

Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.