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Sedona sees about 5 million tourists a year, if you are planning on being one of them, read this first! Here is How To Plan The Perfect Trip To Sedona, including where to eat in Sedona, where to shop in Sedona, where to stay in Sedona and the best things to do while you are in Sedona.
How To Plan The Perfect Trip To Sedona
Once a year I try to schedule a getaway with my husband. Life is busy, work is hard, parenting is non-stop so I believe it’s important for us to take a break and spend some quality time together. One day the kids are going to be at college (insert crying mom here) and we are going to have to know how to still enjoy each other’s time, so these trips are not only fun…but I truly believe that they are an important part of our marriage.
The last two years we went to Tulum, Mexico. The first year we needed 100% relaxation. And we got it. We stayed at a secluded, small resort with an amazing staff and waited on us and brought us absolutely everything we asked for. We ate breakfast on our balcony, sipped margaritas on the beach during the day and got massages in our room while the sun set. It was heaven. So much so, we went back the following year. And while it was just as magical, we wanted something a bit different the next year.
I was set on Aruba…my friend, Harmony, at Paradise Travel found me an incredible villa over the water that looked…WOW. But, my husband wanted something besides the tropical vibe. And to be 100% truthful while I sit here typing this, I’m not sure how I picked Sedona…but man am I glad I did.
We flew into Phoenix, rented a car and then drove two hours to Sedona. It’s actually a really small town…I had no idea! The locals told us that only about 10,000 people live there but between 4-5 MILLION visit every year. So, you can image that their small roads can get pretty busy, but with all the outdoor adventures around you, it definitely doesn’t feel “crowded” or busy.
Because it is a small town filled with tourists, I strongly recommend making dinner reservations at your must-eat locations. One thing I didn’t think about was the timing of our dinner reservation…we almost never eat dinner before 7:30 P.M. so, that’s about the time I made reservations for…well, it’s dark by then…or at least close to it when we went in mid-September. Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating after the sun goes down, but many of restaurants have INCREDIBLE views of those famous red rocks…and since Sedona does not have street lights (they are actually also called the Dark Sky City because they don’t believe in light pollution) you can’t see those red rocks after it gets dark. SO, if you want that view, check to see when the sun sets when you are visiting Sedona and make your dinner reservations before that time…or at least around that time so you can experience the views.
Speaking of places to eat in Sedona…here are the restaurants I recommend eating at while visiting Sedona. Remember, reservations are strongly recommended for dinner.
Where to Eat in Sedona
Best Breakfast in Sedona
We asked several locals where the best place was to have breakfast and every single one mentioned the Pump House Station and the Secret Garden. We ate at them both, both were delicious, but really loved the vibe at the Pump House Station.
Pump House Station is a modern restaurant in Tlaquepaque Village that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was recommended to us for breakfast, so that’s when we went. I highly recommend the eggs benedict and the chilaquiles. Pump House Station serves cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, and salads on their lunch menu. They also have a dog-friendly patio, full bar, and cozy atmosphere.
Secret Garden Cafe is also located in Tlaquepaque Village, in fact, it’s right across the street from Pump House Station. True to it’s name, it’s surrounded beautiful gardens and has a great breakfast menu. I had the french toast, as that’s what everyone told me to get and I don’t regret it 😉
Best Restaurants in Sedona
Mole’ Sedona has incredible views and quite possibly the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life. Oh…and the jalapeno margarita…I still dream about it. We actually grabbed lunch here on the day we flew into town, it was on the way into downtown and was the perfect first stop in Sedona.
The Hudson – The Hudson also came highly recommended. It is a fun spot with a ton of things to eat no matter what your taste is. Enjoy fine dining or have one of the best burgers. We got the chicken pot pie and split it…I will admit that it wasn’t my favorite meal in Sedona. We made our reservation here later in the evening, so we missed our chance at their killer views, but we did enjoy a few delicious cocktails.
Elote – Elote has outstanding Mexican food and it has a beautiful location with a great patio and views. Definitely get the Elote and a margarita!
The Vault Uptown – Sit outside. Seriously, with their view it doesn’t matter what’s on the menu. However I am happy to report that the food is incredible. Get there early enough to enjoy the view though. Seriously, don’t miss the view.
Cress On Oak Creek – Cress On Oak Creek is located at the famous L’Auberge De Sedona. We ate here the first night in Sedona and everything about the evening was absolutely perfect. It’s located right on the creek, so the sound of the flowing water is relaxing, then pair that with some of the most amazing food…you’ll be in heaven! We were!
Shorebird Sedona – We didn’t get a chance to eat here, but it was on the list…we just ran out of time! It did come highly recommended and it’s owned by the same folks at Mole…which we loved…so I would guess Shorebird is equally as delish.
I strongly recommend reservations for dinner for all locations!
Shopping In Sedona
If you are looking for a shopping experience that encompasses Sedona’s taste of Native American art and culture, Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village is an excellent location to visit. The shops are filled with one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, and handmade clothing. We walked around here after breakfast at The Secret Garden Cafe.
Uptown Sedona offers a selection of affordable shopping options and souvenir shops including Red Rock Apothecary for handmade bath bombs and other beauty products.
Earthbound Trading Co. for trendy clothing and jewelry, along with the new-age vibe and incredible views!
Sedona is often recognized as being one of the best small cities in the country for the arts, and many of its galleries are within walking distance of one another (which you can see on this gallery map).
Wine Tasting in Sedona
Sedona is considered a part of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which also includes the nearby cities of Cornville, Cottonwood, and Jerome.
Although Sedona has popular tasting rooms, like Decanter Tasting Room and Winery at 1912, if you want the real wine tasting experience, you should travel 15 miles west of Uptown Sedona to Cornville, where the spacious wineries and vineyards are.
Some of the most popular wineries in Cornville are Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery, Javelina Leap Vineyard Winery & Bistro and DA Ranch. We also went to Alcantara Vineyard, which was actually our first stop on the wine tour and it was absolutely beautiful!
Or Book a Private Sedona Wine Tour, that’s actually what we did, we didn’t want to have to worry about driving and sipping and having a guide tell you about the area is really worth it! On our Sedona Wine Tours we visited Page Springs Cellars, DA Ranch and Alcantara Vineyard. We had lunch at Page Springs Cellars and I highly recommend the stuffed peppers 🙂
Where to Stay in Sedona
I’m sure just about everywhere you stay in the small town of Sedona will have incredible views of those famous red rocks, but L’Auberge de Sedona was amazing. I would stay there again in a heartbeat. From the moment you turn down their driveway you are transported to a private luxury retreat. You hear the creek, you have the most beautiful views and there are so many things to do right at the resort. We were talking to one of the yoga instructors and she was telling us that the resorts goal is to let you experience all that Sedona has to offer without ever having to leave the property.
You can learn about the vortexes, be immersed into the art culture with a local artist (and even go to a painting class!), do yoga (which we did every chance we could), make chakra bracelets (we did this too!), do stargazing, relax at the spa, sit poolside and so much more! Oh, and be sure to sit creek-side and watch the ducks cruise by.
We stayed in a cottage with a view of the red rocks and it even had an outdoor (private) shower – which I used every day because it was just so cool to be one with nature. If you are looking for the top luxury resort to stay in Sedona, L’Auberge de Sedona is it.
They also have a complimentary shuttle service that will take you just about anywhere (local) you want to go…which saves a ton on Uber rides if you get tired of walking 🙂
Sedona is a beautiful town in Arizona that is known for its red rocks and those mystical vortexes. There are many things to do in Sedona, including hiking, biking, and exploring the many shops and restaurants. Now that we chatted about my favorite things to do in Sedona, where to eat in Sedona and where to stay in Sedona, here are the tops things to do while visiting Sedona.
Top Things to do in Sedona
1. Take a hike
There are soooo many incredible trails and places to hike in Sedona.We opted to take a guided tour. Since it was our first time in Sedona, I really wanted someone to show us the sites and tell us about the vortex, the area, the history and just about everything we could learn. We booked our guided hike with Sedona Mystical Tours, Anna was our guide and I will say that this hike was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. I can’t recommend it enough!
Bell Rock (and many others!) are in town and the view from the top is breathtaking and definitely worth the hike up! You can see for miles in every direction. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there is no water or food available once you start the hike. Also, wear sunscreen and a hat, as there is no shade on the trail.
The hike itself is about 2 miles round trip, but it can be challenging in places with loose rocks and steep sections. But take your time and enjoy the scenery!
When you reach the top, there are some great spots to sit down and relax for a bit before heading back down. Just take in that incredible view!
2. Bike through Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most scenic places in Sedona. There are plenty of places to stop and take in the views. The canyon is also home to many different kinds of plants and animals. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the more rare species. Biking through the canyon is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. There are plenty of trails to choose from, so you can find one that suits your level of fitness.
3. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross
Sedona is a beautiful city in Arizona that is home to many amazing sights and activities. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most popular attractions in Sedona.
The chapel is located in a stunning area of Sedona with red rocks all around it. It was built in 1956 and is a beautiful example of modern architecture. It is a place of worship for many people and has been visited by celebrities and politicians over the years.
The chapel offers breathtaking views of Sedona from its observation deck. Visitors can take part in guided tours of the chapel or attend mass if they wish. It’s a breathtaking place all around.
4. Shop at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in Sedona, look no further than Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. This quaint village is located in the heart of Sedona and is home to a variety of shops and galleries. Plus, there’s about a million Instagram-worthy picture spots. The village is beautifully landscaped and includes fountains, courtyards, and gardens.
5. Do a Wine Tasting
Sedona is well known for its stunning red rocks and it’s getting more and more known for it’s vineyards. Wine tasting is one of the many things to do in this beautiful city.
6. Go on a hot air balloon ride
Sedona is a beautiful place to visit and the hot air balloon rides are a must-see. To see Sedona from a different perspective – Most people come to Sedona and hike or drive around to see the sights. However, hot air ballooning will give you a unique perspective of the area as you float above it all. You’ll be able to see more of Sedona in one hour than you could in days spent walking or driving around. The experience is unlike any other – There’s something special about being up in a hot air balloon, gently floating along with the wind. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget and one that you’ll want to repeat.
7. Drive through the Red Rock Scenic Loop Road
If you’re looking for breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience, look no further than the Red Rock Scenic Loop Road in Sedona. This 12-mile loop takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the area, including towering red rock formations, canyons, and desert landscapes.
There’s no better way to appreciate the natural beauty of Sedona than by taking a drive through the scenic loop road. Not only will you get to see some of the most incredible views in the area, but you’ll also have the chance to stop at various lookout points along the way.
Whether you’re a local or just visiting Sedona for a short while, be sure to add the Red Rock Scenic Loop Road to your list of things to do. You won’t regret it!
8. Go Off-Roading in an ATV
Off-roading in an ATV is a great way to see Sedona. There are many trails to choose from, and the scenery is beautiful. There are many trails to choose from, so you can find one that is the right level of difficulty for you. The scenery in Sedona is beautiful, and off-roading is a great way to get some exercise.
9. Take in a Stargazing Tour
When visiting the beautiful city of Sedona, be sure to add a stargazing tour to your list of things to do.
Sedona is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. The clear, dark skies offer amazing views of the stars and planets. Second, a stargazing tour gives you the chance to learn about the night sky from an expert. You’ll be able to ask questions and get tips on how to best see the stars. Finally, a stargazing tour is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. There’s nothing like gazing up at the stars in Sedona!
We sat outside on our balcony every night at L’Auberge de Sedona and enjoyed the stars.
10. Take a Day Trip to See the Grand Canyon
If you have time in your schedule, you can head out to the Grand Canyon. We didn’t have the extra day….we felt that there was plenty to explore and enjoy right in Sedona while we were there. BUT, the Grand Canyon isn’t too terribly far if you want to get that in! The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world. It is truly a sight to behold. If you are looking for a day trip from Sedona, taking a day trip to see the Grand Canyon should definitely be on your list. It is an experience that you will never forget.
When leaving Sedona, we left early and headed towards Flagstaff…it added another hour or so to our drive to the Phoenix airport, but it was 100% worth it! You will drive through the “mountains” and get more of those incredible views…then do the scenic pull off…100% worth it!
I hope these tips help you plan the perfect trip to Sedona!