This past spring, I flew out west to catch up with a few old college roommates in Phoenix, Arizona. But this time, we ditched the city life, hopped in the car, and drove a few hours north into the great outdoors. Stepping outside comfort zone and into the red rocks was one of the most unforgettable adventures I have taken. We only had twenty-four hours in Sedona, but we made the most of it. Looking for advice on how to make the most of your time, read on to find things to do in Sedona!!
When traveling, I tend to gravitate towards the modern conveniences of cities. Coffee shops around every corner, WiFi in abundance, and no shortage of Uber drivers when you have given up on public transportation.
Things to do in Sedona; Take a Jeep Tour
One of the best introductions to the natural wonder of Sedona is to join a tour with a local guide. Whether you are looking to figure out where the best hiking trails are or experience the uplifting power of a vortex, a Jeep tour is a great way to collect advice from those who know the area the best. Be prepared for a bumpy adventure, these tours are far cry from cruising down the autobahn in a Mercedes.
Pink Jeep is one of the most renowned companies, offering a variety of tours throughout the region. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, A Day in the West offers top-notch tours as well. We chose the Mogollon Rim Jeep Tour. Our driver’s quick wit kept us laughing for the next few hours as we toured the Coconino National Forest.
We learned a brief history of the area and fun facts about the vegetation and climate. Who would have thought juniper plants, used to make one of my favorite spirits, (Gin) thrives in the arid desert climate of the southwest?
One piece of information that I could have withstood remaining ignorant about was the snake situation. Beware, the black rattlesnake is native to the region. If you are planning to hike in the Coconino Forest, be sure to wear long pants and close-toed shoes to avoid a visit from a friend of the reptile variety.
Soak in the breathtaking views
If you are looking for a fantastic spot to pose for a selfie, take a drive over to Airport Road. The vantage point offers three-sixty degree views of the red rocks. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
My old roomies also enjoyed checking out the vantage point over at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. We logged a few more steps than anticipated climbing the chapel from the parking lot but it was well worth the work. The quaint chapel can get very crowded during the weekends, if it’s at all possible try to visit on a weekday.
Shop ’til you drop
If you are a shopaholic like myself, you will have no problem finding things to do in Sedona and feeding your habit. Uptown Sedona offers a variety of shops offering goods ranging from fine jewelry to cactus candy. My friend Kristen was looking to appease her spiritual side, purchasing a few stones from Spiritstone Gems. Upon stepping foot inside, we were greeted with friendly advice and seemed to know just the type of crystals Kristen needed.
Another great spot for shopping is the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Just down the road from Main Street is a beautiful outdoor cluster of nifty shops and galleries filled the work of local artists.
All that sightseeing and shopping left us with a rather large appetite. I was craving good Mexican, so we decided to grab a bite at El Rincon. There was a bit of a wait, which I always take as a sign that the food is worth waiting for. Luckily there was a band playing in the courtyard and a cocktail bar to take advantage of. Be sure to try a prickly pear cactus margarita, they are delicious!
Rise and Shine, It’s Hiking Time
After dinner, we headed straight back to the hotel and called it a night. Unlike our college days, I now need my beauty rest if I plan to function in the morning. I’m rarely on a trip slamming on the alarm clock at 6AM, but if you are planning to hike in the desert, the morning is your friend. With hesitation, I strapped on my hiking boots and headed over to the iconic Cathedral Rock.
Normally I do not consider myself to be a human being until I have consumed at least one cup of coffee. On this morning, the fresh air and colorful horizon was the only stimulant needed! Laura and I didn’t make it all the way to the top, but the views are stunning from every angle.
Once we reached the bottom, we took a drive over to Slide Rock to set up a well-deserved picnic. I’m an east coast girl, so usually summer temperatures equate to trips to the ocean, but not in Arizona. Instead, you can sunbathe on the red rock along a very popular watering hole. For ten dollars per carload of people, you can spend a leisurely afternoon cooling off while soaking in the desert sun.
I hope I have convinced you to dig those hiking boots out of the back of your closet and book a trip out west and find some things to do in Sedona. An escape from the hustle and bustle of city life was exactly what I needed!
Sedona, Arizona is about a two-hour drive from Phoenix. If you do both, here’s great things to do in the summer!