San Francisco’s Famous Sea Lion Hangout! Sea Lions Take Over A Pier!

Want To Hang Out With Some Friendly Sea Lions?

Well, who doesn’t? It’s very easy to do on the west coast of the US – there are a lot of places to see them in the wild – including in the heart of San Francisco!

Welcome to Pier 39!

San Francisco’s legendary piers are full of unique adventures and surprises – everything from crab and shrimp cocktails at Fisherman’s Wharf, all the way south to The Ferry Building, which houses amazing restaurants and shops…in between, there is a terrific place to drop in and see some sea friends…

It all happens just a few doors down from San Francisco’s famed Fisherman’s Wharf, at Pier 39 – very unassuming, as you can see from this picture of my wife Alex and her sister Lauren:

We were walking north towards the Wharf when we noticed the action in the water and headed over for a closer look…of course, I had to get a picture of them getting that closer look:

Here is the official history of the Sea Lions hangout, as posted by the Pier 39 website:

“A few California sea lions began “hauling out” on PIER 39’s K-Dock shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989. By January 1990, the boisterous barking pinnipeds started to arrive in droves and completely took over K-Dock, much to the exasperation of PIER 39’s Marina tenants. The Marina Staff turned to The Marine Mammal Center, an organization devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, for advice about their new slippery tenants. After much debate and research, the experts from The Marine Mammal Center recommended that the sea lions stay in their newfound home.”

“With a plentiful supply of food from the Bay and an environment protected from predators, the PIER 39 Marina proved to be an ideal living situation for the sea lions. Within a few short months, the number of sea lions grew to more than 300 and hit an all-time record of 1,701 in November 2009.

California sea lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness and noisy barking.
Although they usually avoid humans, sea lions may bite if provoked.”

Well, we weren’t going to do that, but here is a video showing two of them getting into a bit of a tussle…nothing too serious, just some posturing:

So there you have it – walk out onto the pier and watch hundreds of them play around…here is some more video of their activity – playful, noisy, and if you get too close, a bit smelly too:

Sea lions migrate to areas across the Pacific Coast, from Vancouver to the southern tip of Baja. Most pups are born on the Channel Islands located off Southern California in June.

Oh, and since you are out on the pier, look north and you will see Alcatraz Island:

Once you’ve seen the sea lions, and then imagined escaping from Alcatraz by swimming across San Francisco bay, it’s time to drive across the bay – yes, over the Golden Gate bridge, just so you can pull off at the lookout spot and take this picture:

Yes, it’s a perfect shot of the bridge, and a perfect way to end the day in a great city!

If you travel north a few hours from San Francisco, you come across one of California’s iconic tourist destinations:

It’s the drive-thru Chandelier tree – and we did squeeze our Prius through it, but it’s more fun to walk through…see more pictures here:

Drive a few hours north and you can end up on Oregon’s magnificent coast!

We did this as well – it really is worth taking a few days and seeing the left coast of the US, beginning in San Francisco…here is our trip:

Let me know if you’ve hung out with San Francisco’s Sea Lions!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, documentary films, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. A friend who visited SF was impressed by the number of sea lions, but not by their smell. It seems that everyone agrees it is a pretty smelly experience!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Looks like a great trip! We were on Fisherman’s Wharf back in 2008. The seals are definitely a smelly bunch! We visited Glass Beach in Fort Bragg on the same trip. We love Northern California.

  3. Great pictures! I love San Francisco and Fisherman’s Wharf and the waterfront is the best!


  1. Walking Up Coit Tower! Alfred Hitchcock Loved San Francisco’s Iconic 400-Step Tower! – johnrieber
  2. Monterey’s Amazing Aquarium! Magical Jellyfish! Circling Sardines At Cannery Row! A REALLY BIG Fish! – johnrieber
  3. You CAN “Escape From Alcatraz”! San Francisco’s Greatest Prison – “The Rock!” – Is Open To The Public! – johnrieber

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

The Planking Traveler

Affordable Travel, Enjoyable Movement, And Healthy Living Inspiration

Just muddling through life

The ups and downs of a working mum

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, and essays from a middle grade author and freelance blogger.

Pages, Places, & Plates

Reviews of books, eateries, experiences, and travel.


One of my happy places is in my books

Marian Wood

Aspiring Author and Poet

Love She Travels

Inspiring independent women to travel the world with confidence

Binging on a Budget

"Help Me, I'm Poor."

Sunshine with Savannah

Writer aiming to cultivate kindness. | Exploring, learning, scribbling, finding sunshine wherever I go.

The Romantic Vineyard

A Rich Harvest of Ideas to Help Your Marriage Grow

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

Niamh R Blogs

Lifestyle | Petite Fashion | Travel | Entertainment

This Coffee Life

wellness & good reads

A Rambling Reviewer

Here be rambles and reviews.

B&S About Movies

We'll see the movies.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Wrangling literary arts for writers: words for people!

The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Colline's Blog

A potpourri of books and things

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews & ABC Film Challenge

Cindy Bruchman

Films. Travel. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

From Michigan to Germany

A family from Michigan living abroad in Germany.


The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.


Little Things Make Us Happy

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

Cult Of The Cinema

Exploring Cinematic Diversity

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

The Bloomin Brilliant Blog

A Little Piece Of My Life

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

Esme Salon

Share, Care & Inspire

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Come for Adventure. Stay for the Ride!

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

a mindful traveler

explore, live, love...

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

%d bloggers like this: