Sea lions can be found in the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, but are most commonly see sitting atop the cliffs nearby the La Jolla Caves.
Sea lions are generally found in our coastal waters of the temperate to subpolar regions of both northern and southern hemispheres. California sea lions sunning on the cliffs near the La Jolla Caves.
The sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, so approaching the sea lions on the cliffs is not permitted. The sea lions are behaviorally pretty social and may swim around kayakers and snorkelers along the reefs.
Sea Lion or Seal?
California sea lions are just one of several marine mammals of the family, Otariidae. Sea lions are characterized by the presence of external ear (pinnae or flaps) and long front flippers. This is one easy way to distinguish between sea lions and seals, since seals do not have ear flaps.
Sea lions also have flippers that enable them to walk on four flippers while on land. Sea lions are very mobile on land and in the water, and have the ability to scale cliff sides because of their strong pectoral muscles and four flippers. Harbor seals, by contrast, do not have this ability. Seals slither around like a snake on land.
The sea lions also communicate on land, not in the water! Sea lions can be heard barking on the cliffs; harbor seals do not have this same ability.
Check Out Sea Lions from a Kayak!
California sea lions can frequently be seen sunning on the cliffs, swimming around in the water nearby the Caves, or barking at each other on the rocks. Get an up close view of these magnificent animals.
Join San Diego Bike and Kayak Tour or rent a kayak to paddle past these amazing creatures! In addition to kayaking near sea lions, you’ll also explore the La Jolla Caves, the Kelp Forest and the rest of the famous La Jolla Ecological Reserve.
Tour the seven sea saves of La Jolla, including Sunny Jim’s Cave, Arch Cave, Clam’s Cave, and more. Kayak along the rocky reefs to see other local marine life including garibaldi and leopard sharks with our certified kayak tour guides.
To book your San Diego Kayak Tour or to reserve your kayak rental, call (858) 454-1010 or book online. Special pricing for advance reservations!