With its backdrop of red sandstone formations everywhere you turn and an artsy/new age feel, there is no place quite like Sedona! We got a taste of this vibrant city of just over 10,000 residents in northern Arizona desert on the last day of our week-long road trip in South-Western U.S. We could not have picked a more suitable ending for our journey!
Here is how to experience Sedona in just a day while also unwinding at the end of your week-long Utah-Arizona road trip.
Good to Know. Sedona enjoys a milder climate than its Southern Arizona neighbors, but it still a desert – so plan (dress and hydrate) accordingly. We have visited in the beginning of July (temperatures in the low 90-s) and planned our hikes for early in the day and pool time for the afternoon.
ENJOY THE DRIVE
Getting to Sedona was a big part of our Sedona experience. The prior leg of our trip was in Grand Canyon, so we approached the city from the North, making our way through the winding pine forests, creeks, and dramatic elevations. On our way out of the city (South) towards Phoenix Airport the following day, we were passing by the Red Rock State Park and treated to a different but even more dramatic scenery of magnificent red rock formations.
Sedona has a unique collection of artisan stores and art galleries that could be found in clusters uptown, along the 179 corridor and in the Village of Oak Creak. Our hotel (see note on lodging below) was located within a walking distance from the Tlaquepaque Arts and Craft Village, a stylish replica of Mexican village of the same name. We walked around this cozy compound, peeking into the many interesting shops and admiring its Spanish-style architecture. Tlaquepaque hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year (Cinco de Mayo, Fiesta del Tlaquepaque, Festival of Trees, Festival of Lights to name a few). For more on Sedona shopping scene, check out Visit Sedona website.
GO ON A HIKE
With over a hundred trails for hiking and mountain biking throughout Sedona’s outback, you will be sure to find one to your liking and abilities. We chose Marg’s Draw hiking trail which we accessed right off our hotel. It is less than 3 miles round trip on a relatively leveled path. It is an in town trail so there are residences on the trail ends, but in the middle you feel like you are “far away from it all”.
SOAK WITH A VIEW
Taking in the views while relaxing in a hot spa is a very Sedona thing to do. We were able to do it without leaving our hotel. If your hotel does not come with a spa, be sure to visit one for a couple of hours with a day pass.
ENJOY MEXICAN FOOD
We tasted (and enjoyed!) contemporary Mexican flavors in an award-winning Elote restaurant located in Arabella Hotel Sedona. It was the best Mexican food we ever had, but beware of the typical 1.5 hour wait to get in (no reservations accepted).
A Note on Lodging. We have chosen Arabella Hotel Sedona because it was budget-friendly (Sedona hotels tend to be expensive!) and because it offered everything we planned to do in our one day in Sedona – either right on the property or within a walking distance (we were guests of the property, for current prices, check out this booking.com link)
After a week-long road-trip, we were happy to leave our rental car alone for 24 hours. We walked to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Craft Village, got on a hiking trail right off the property, sampled Mexican cuisine and relaxed in the outdoor pools and hot tubs (yes, I love myself a hot tub even in a desert!). Arabella hotel complex is composed of several 2-story buildings with outside entrances and balconies. The hotel is dog-friendly (may be even too dog-friendly for my taste so ask for the buildings with no dogs if you don’t want to bump into a four-legged neighbors’ dog next door. Normally, I prefer an inside room entrance, but in Sedona, the indoor-outdoor set up feels just right.
More of Sedona experiences.
We managed to spend an entire day in Sedona without using our car, but if you would like to go on a self-drive, check out this link. Another ultimate Sedona experience is going on a jeep tour and Pink Jeep Tour is the most famous (they can even take you on a day trip to the Grand Canyon). Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon is where locals cool off during hot and dry Arizona summers.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO SEDONA? SHARE YOUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCES IN THE COMMENTS.
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