Sea Caves
The Salty Side of Cave Exploring

Sea caves can be a challenge to visit. Many of them can only be approached by boat or kayak, so it's an adventure just getting to them.

This type of cave is also called a littoral cave. They are usually formed by the wave action of the sea eroding the land. The larger caves are formed in a type of volcanic rock called basalt. They form in areas of weakness such as a fault line.


Painted Cave was once the longest littoral cave in the world. It's on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California. It's over 1200 feet long and the opening is 130 feet tall.




The largest littoral cave in the world by volume is at Sea Lion Caves Oregon. It also took over the title of longest littoral cave in the world and held it up until October of 2012. This is a privately owned show cave with easy access.

The new world record for longest littoral cave goes to Matainaka Cave in New Zealand. It's 1540 meters (5052ft) in length.


The Devil's Punchbowl in Oregon is an interesting formation that was probably caused by the collapse of two littoral caves.

Many other large littoral caves are found in the Channel Islands of California as well as the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

The La Jolla Caves are 7 littoral caves located in La Jolla, California. One cave, named Sunny Jim, is accessible through a man-made tunnel. The entrance is inside the historical Cave Store. The other 6 can only be approached from the sea. Several outfitters provide kayak tours to these caves. It is also possible to swim or snorkel over to them.

While not very long or deep compared to other types of caves, littoral caves provide lots of adventure!

To find one near you, click here.


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