Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller sea lions are frequently sighted in Oregon  waters. California sea lions are the animals you might have seen in circuses. These 1,000-pound mammals are characterized by their large size and small earflaps, which seals lack. Unlike seals, they can point their rear flippers forward to give them better mobility on land. Lacking the dense underfur that covers seals, sea lions tend to prefer warmer waters.
Steller sea lions can be seen at the Sea Lion Caves . They also breed on reefs off Gold Beach  and Port Orford . In the largest sea lion species, males can weigh more than a ton. Their coats tend to be gray rather than black like California sea lions. They also differ from their California counterparts in that they are comfortable in colder water.
Look for Pacific harbor seals in bays and estuaries up and down the coast, sometimes miles inland. They’re nonmigratory, have no earflaps, and can be distinguished from sea lions because they’re much smaller (150–300 pounds) and have mottled fur that ranges in color from pale cream to rusty brown.