Many of you know we are huge fans of National Parks and exploring the outdoors. Since we have busy day jobs and spend lots of time in offices, glued to laptop screens, these weekend trips are among the few things we are eager to do.
Sedona, Arizona, is a beautiful desert city known for its vibrant red rock formations, natural beauty, and spiritual energy. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and those seeking a tranquil retreat.
This post will review our favorite things to do in Sedona and share tips if you plan a trip.
- Fun Places To Visit In Sedona
- 1. Head To The Cathedral Rock
- 2. See The Devils Bridge
- 3. Visit The Bell Rock
- 5. Go Wine tasting
- 6. Stargazing Under The Beautiful Sedona Sky
- 7. Jeep Tours
- 8. Yoga & Meditation
- 9. Hot Air Balloon Tours
- 10. Art Galleries
- Tips For Enjoying Your Stay At Sedona
- 1. Fly Into Phoenix
- 2. Stop At The Hike House
- 3. Get Equipped With The Right Gear
- 4. Pack Hand Sanitizer And Hand Wipes
- 5. Use Google Maps To Find Trailheads And Attractions
- 6. Bring A Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, And Lots Of Water
- 7. Consider Visiting During The Off-Season
- 8. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
- 9. Stop By Whole Foods For Supplies Or A Quick Meal
- 10. Lodging in Sedona
- 11. Getting Around Sedona
- 12. Dining in Sedona
Fun Places To Visit In Sedona
Sedona has plenty of fun things to do whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation. While Sedona isn’t technically a national park, it feels like one. The area offers many interesting hikes and unique travel experiences. It’s a great place for a weekend getaway or as part of a larger trip to the Grand Canyon.
This blog post will explore some of Sedona’s top activities and attractions.
1. Head To The Cathedral Rock
This is my favorite hike in Sedona. It’s a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike up from the trailhead. The trail is well-marked but strenuous, especially for newer or less agile hikers.
There is a section in the middle of the hike where you must scramble up rocks. People struggle through this area, especially since traffic goes up and down the trail through this section.
Once you reach the top, you’ll see some extremely beautiful views of Sedona. It’s an amazing reward after the short but difficult hike. Cathedral Rock is also one of the popular vortex spots where you’ll find Juniper trees growing in a spiral.
I recommend doing this hike either early in the morning or at sunset. The parking at this trailhead gets crowded, so it’s worth getting there before or after the main crowds. Another option is to use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to avoid parking.
2. See The Devils Bridge
This is a popular hike in Sedona. It’s the largest natural sandstone arch in the area. You’ll hike through the Coconino National Forest to get to the arch. Once at Devil’s Bridge, you’ll get beautiful views of the surrounding red rocks.
The hiking distance varies depending on where you start. The closest trailhead is 1.8 miles roundtrip, though that trailhead gets crowded, and parking is scarce. When we did the hike, we took the longer roundtrip route, about 4.2 miles.
The hike does have a 400-foot increase in elevation to get to Devil’s Bridge. This means that it may be difficult for some inexperienced hikers.
3. Visit The Bell Rock
This is another iconic hike in Sedona and an area full of energy vortices. Bell Rock is a great place to explore because it offers trails for all levels. You can hike the flat trails around Bell Rock and the nearby Courthouse Butte or scale Bell Rock itself. This makes it a great landmark to explore with a family. You’ll even spot the twisted trees in the area caused by the energy vortex.
However, I do not suggest climbing to the peak of Bell Rock, which is 4,919 feet. While it is possible, getting down is treacherous!
5. Go Wine tasting
For those who love wine, Sedona is just a short drive from Arizona’s wine country. Several wineries in the area offer tastings and tours, allowing one to sample some of the region’s best wines. Page Springs Cellars is a popular choice, as it is located in a picturesque valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
The Verde Valley Wine Trail also runs through Sedona, offering a variety of tasting rooms and vineyards to explore. You can sample local wines, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy the beautiful desert scenery.
6. Stargazing Under The Beautiful Sedona Sky
Sedona is known for its clear night skies, making it great for stargazing. Several stargazing tours are available, where you can learn about the constellations and view the stars through high-powered telescopes.
If hiking isn’t your thing, there are other activities in the area. You can take guided jeep tours of the major landmarks. Also, Sedona is an incredible place to stargaze. For those of us from major urban cities, it’s a spectacular experience.
The first time I went to Sedona, I was staring at the night sky from my hotel and saw a moving object. At first, I thought it was a UFO. However, it turned out to be a satellite passing overhead.
About two years ago, we signed up for a tour with Sedona Star Gazing. It was a great way to learn more from a professional and view the stars through a telescope. The tour cost was $60 per person and was two hours long. Again, you don’t need to take a tour to gaze at the stars. However, if you’re nerdy like me, getting the guided session and access to the telescope is worth it.
7. Jeep Tours
If you’re looking for a more exciting way to explore the rugged terrain of Sedona, a Jeep tour is the way to go. The Jeep tours take you off-road and into the heart of the red rocks, providing access to stunning viewpoints and photo opportunities you might not find on foot.
These tours take you through the rugged desert terrain and provide a unique perspective on the area’s natural beauty. Most tours are led by experienced guides knowledgeable about the area’s history, geology, and culture.
A Jeep tour is a must-do in Sedona, with various options like sunset and stargazing tours.
8. Yoga & Meditation
Sedona is known as an energy vortex area. People believe that these vortices have swirling energy or magnetic fields. Many believe that the vortices provide healing energy and mystic powers.
I can’t say that I’ve felt any of the energy, but there are trees near the vortex spots that grow in a spiral. Sedona’s spiritual energy and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for yoga and meditation.
Sedona is a popular destination for those seeking peace and relaxation, and there are numerous yoga and meditation studios in the area.
Sedona is a popular destination for yoga and meditation if you want to unwind and relax. Many of these studios offer classes that take advantage of the stunning natural surroundings, such as outdoor yoga classes with views of the red rocks.
9. Hot Air Balloon Tours
Hot air balloon tours are a unique and exciting way to experience the beauty of Sedona from above. As you float high above the red rocks, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscape and enjoy the peaceful quiet that comes with soaring through the sky.
There are several hot air balloon tour companies in Sedona, each offering a slightly different experience. Some offer sunrise or sunset tours, while others may include champagne or a post-flight breakfast.
10. Art Galleries
Sedona’s many art galleries offer a chance to explore the town’s vibrant artistic community if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground.
Sedona is also home to a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists. The galleries feature various styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, jewelry, and pottery.
You can spend hours browsing the galleries, admiring the work of local artists, and perhaps even finding a piece to take home as a souvenir. Some popular galleries include the Sedona Arts Center, the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, and the Goldenstein Gallery.
Tips For Enjoying Your Stay At Sedona
In addition to the stunning natural beauty, Sedona offers a variety of activities to enjoy during your visit. If you’re planning a trip to Sedona, here are a few things to remember.
1. Fly Into Phoenix
While Flagstaff is the nearest airport to Sedona, few flights and airlines land there. This means that flights to Flagstaff can be pricey. We recommend flying into Phoenix to get a cheaper flight. It’s about a two-hour drive north to Sedona, but it is very scenic.
2. Stop At The Hike House
The Hike House is great for getting additional information about hikes and weather conditions. Experts on hand can give you advice and additional information on the area. They also have a great selection of hiking supplies and a coffee shop to grab last-minute refreshments before hitting the trails.
3. Get Equipped With The Right Gear
Having a comfortable pack, durable hiking shoes, and the right clothing materials (like merino wool and stretch fabrics) makes hiking a more enjoyable experience. Also, I recommend you insulated reusable water bottles that keep water cold even in extreme temperatures.
If you’re planning a trip in the winter, it’s worth packing some ice and snow cleats. These are a lifesaver when walking through slippery areas or in a snowstorm.
4. Pack Hand Sanitizer And Hand Wipes
We often share this tip when traveling, especially to more remote locations. Most bathrooms do not have running water, so bringing hand wipes and sanitizer can help you feel clean and comfortable.
5. Use Google Maps To Find Trailheads And Attractions
Some of the trailheads can be tricky to locate. We tried several navigation apps but found Google Maps to have the most comprehensive and up-to-date information. Also, you can download maps offline before your trip if you have spotty coverage.
6. Bring A Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, And Lots Of Water
There isn’t much overhead vegetation or shade on many hikes, so you’ll want to be extra careful with your sun exposure. Pack plenty of water when hiking on the trails too. The general rule for how much water to consume is one liter (32 ounces) of water every two hours of hiking.
Also, you may find it disorienting if you wear sunglasses with brown lenses. Since the soil is red and brown, lenses tend to add more contrast to your vision, making the environment glow red. If you have a pair of grey or more neutral-colored lenses, I recommend using them instead.
7. Consider Visiting During The Off-Season
Sedona tends to get very busy in the summer months. However, I think it’s a great place to visit during late Fall or winter. You’ll skip the hot weather and all the crowded parking lots and trails.
8. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
You’ll see many people taking selfies along the edges of cliffs. While I’m not opposed to taking pictures, I don’t recommend dangling your feet along the edges or letting yourself get distracted.
The wind at higher elevations is unpredictable, and getting distracted or startled is easy when on the trails. Devils Bridge offers some amazing photo opportunities but is a good example of an area where you must exercise extra caution.
9. Stop By Whole Foods For Supplies Or A Quick Meal
I encourage you to visit the local restaurants and cafes for meals. However, sometimes you need a quick bite or some trail supplies. I highly recommend Whole Foods in the area. Like most other Whole Foods, they have a hot food bar. However, this one also has a bar. It’s a great place to get a cheap, quick meal between hikes and activities.
10. Lodging in Sedona
Sedona has various lodging options, depending on your budget and travel style. If you’re looking to use your points, all the major hotel chains have hotels in the area.
We prefer to stay at a small boutique bed, and breakfast in Sedona called The Inn Above Oak Creek. We stayed there on each of our visits. The inn has a cozy feeling, and the rooms include a fireplace and hot tub.
11. Getting Around Sedona
You will want a car to explore the area. While some might prefer an SUV, you shouldn’t need one. Most roads are paved and accessible and don’t require additional traction or height. The only catch is in the winter. If you think you’ll experience icy or snowy weather, getting a vehicle with an all-wheel drive might be worth it. However, it’s uncommon for Sedona to get a lot of snow.
12. Dining in Sedona
There are plenty of dining options in the area. However, be aware that most restaurants close by 9 pm. We made the mistake of trying to find a restaurant after 8 pm on our last trip.
Multiple restaurants said they couldn’t seat us and that the kitchen was closing soon. The local Chipotle ended up saving the day!
If you are in the area, I highly suggest making reservations in advance or planning to get an early meal. One restaurant that seems to be extremely popular is the Elote Cafe.
Have you been to Sedona? If so, what is your favorite hike or activity?