There are so many things to see in Sedona, and it’s such a beautiful and magical place! It always surprises me that a lot of people haven’t heard of it—somehow it’s both a destination that people in the know love to visit and a somewhat undiscovered gem. Sedona is located in Arizona near Flagstaff, about a two-hour drive from Phoenix. It’s famous for it’s striking red rock scenery and magical energy, and it truly is a unique and special place. Here’s my list of all the top things to see in Sedona!
Where to Stay in Sedona
Sedona hotels tend to be very pricey (even the Best Western there is $230/night!). There are a lot of really fancy and splurge-worthy hotels like Enchantment, Amara, and L’Auberge. For more economically priced hotels, check out the Hyatt, Hilton, and Sedona Rouge. I’ll also be writing up a post about the best Airbnbs in Sedona, so stay tuned for a list of those vacation rentals!
Top things to see in Sedona
1. Hiking. Sedona is famous for its incredible hiking trails with jaw-dropping vistas, and hiking to these spots is one of those must-do things to see in Sedona. I’m planning on writing up a whole in-depth separate blog post all about the best hiking trails in Sedona, but a few of my favorites are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and Fay Canyon. Cathedral Rock has some steep scrambles, but you can do it and the view at the top is SO worth it! Fay Canyon is a super easy one that’s mostly flat and then a climb at the end for the views.
2. Pink Jeep Tour. You’ll see the cute pink jeeps all over Sedona, and their tours are fabulous! I highly recommend their most popular tour, Broken Arrow. My family had so much fun on this Pink Jeep Tour and it was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our trip. It was such a fun experience to go offroading all over Red Rock Country, stopping to take photos and enjoy the incredible viewpoints, and learning some interesting facts about the area from our knowledgable guide.
3. Chapel of the Holy Cross. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a church that’s built directly into Sedona’s red rocks. It also offers gorgeous views from its vantage point high up in the rocks. You can drive up to it and it’s definitely worth a visit.
4. Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa is one of the most scenic lookout points, with 360-degree views of Sedona. While you can hike up there, I recommend driving because it’s super easy to drive and park, and then you can save your hiking time for one of the other many beautiful trails (trust me, there are so many awesome hiking trails to check out in Sedona you’ll have a hard time narrowing it down). This is a great spot to catch the sunset, and it’s one of Sedona’s vortexes—more on vortexes in a bit!
5. Red Rock Scenic Byway. Take a drive on the Red Rock Scenic Byway, State Route 179, which runs north-south through Sedona and takes you through town and through beautiful natural red rock formations, with vista points along the way. You’ll naturally drive on this scenic road when you’re heading to destinations like Bell Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross.
6. Have a Spa Day. Since Sedona is known for its magical and healing qualities, it’s no wonder people come here to relax and get all blissed out. We had a wonderful couple’s massage at A Spa For You Day Spa, where Thea the owner takes amazing care of you! Thea and her therapists are super knowledgable, and their spa sessions are all individually customized—I’ve never had a therapist sit me down before a treatment and chat with me so thoroughly about my body, any pain points or issues, previous injuries, and what I’d like to focus on. Thea explained things so well and I love that the spa sessions use blended styles, hot rocks, and pure essential oils. The prices at A Spa For You are also very reasonable, especially taking into account how custom the treatments are. Omied and I left feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated! If you’re looking for a fancy (and pricey) hotel spa with a pool for relaxing in afterward, check out the spas at Enchantment Resort or Amara.
7. Slide Rock State Park. Slide Rock State Park is known for its natural rock water slides! It’s really, really fun. The water is freezing cold, but after a hot hike it’s SO refreshing and will wake you right up. It’s so fun to slip and slide down these natural rock water slides.
A few safety tips: The rocks are slick as shit—they’re incredibly slippery and we saw a lot of people trying to stand on the wet rocks and eating it. I got on my bum and inched my way into the water so I didn’t slip, and when you’re ready to get out it’s helpful to have someone already out of the water on dry rock to give you a hand. Also, I def recommend wearing leggings that you don’t mind getting snagged when you’re going down the slides. I wore a swimsuit and my ass/thighs were a bit scraped up after going down a couple of times.
8. Visit the Vortexes. Ok, let’s talk Sedona vortexes. They’re thought to be these swirling centers of energy that are helpful for healing and meditation, where the earth seems to be alive with energy. People say they feel inspired and recharged after visiting a vortex. Whether or not you believe all that, the vortexes also happen to be some of the most beautiful spots in Sedona, so they’re definitely worth seeking out! You might already be planning on visiting a vortex without even knowing it (like Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, or Bell Rock), and you can check out a map of the different vortexes here. There are even vortex tours available that you can book and have a sherpa to guide you through the experience.
9. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Sedona is also known for its art scene. You’ll find that a lot of businesses support artists by displaying their works for purchase, or turning their establishment into an art gallery during certain evenings. The Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village is a great place to find art galleries and shopping. You can check out their website to see what kind of events they have coming up.
10. Stargazing. Sedona is a certified Dark Sky Community (one of only 20 in the world!), which means the city has certain ordinances in place to help reduce light pollution. From the general lack of lighting at night to using hooded and directed light fixtures, it makes a huge difference and you’ll notice that there’s much less light pollution than other cities, making it an epic spot for stargazing. If you want to go stargazing on your own, this article provides a great overview of where you can drive to for amazing stargazing. Or, if you’d prefer to do a tour (which I highly recommend because it’s always more interesting to know what exactly you’re looking at!) you can book one with Sedona Stargazing. There’s even a tour for stargazing and Sedona UFO sightings. ?
11. Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek Canyon is a beautiful river gorge located just north of Sedona. There are several picnic and recreation areas located within the canyon, including swimming and fishing spots. It’s also a popular camping site (although I wouldn’t know much about that since I’m not a camper). If you’re heading from Sedona to Slide Rock, you’ll naturally take this scenic byway.
12. Hot Air Balloon Ride. If you’re up for something absolutely magical, book a sunrise hot air balloon tour in Sedona. You’ll smoothly glide above the red rocks, soaking in the incredible scenery from high in the sky. A hot air balloon ride in Sedona should be on everyone’s bucket list!
13. Helicopter Ride. Another high in the sky experience—take a helicopter ride through Sedona’s red rocks! You’ll fly by cliff dwellings and over Sedona’s iconic rock formations. Sedona is truly incredible from a bird’s eye view, and you’ll be able to see all of Sedona’s top sights by air while learning about Sedona’s history from your pilot.
14. Day trip to the Grand Canyon, Jerome, or Antelope Canyon. If you’re in Sedona and haven’t been to the Grand Canyon and your schedule allows for a day trip, it’s absolutely worth taking one day to visit the Grand Canyon. It’s one of seven natural world wonders, after all! You can drive to the South Rim and park at the visitor center, and from there hop on the bus loop that takes you around to all of the most scenic viewpoints—take the Red Route and be sure to stop at Hopi and Pima. If you’ll be there for sunset or moonrise, take the Orange Route to Yaki Point for the best viewpoint.
If you’ve visited the Grand Canyon before and you’re looking for another kind of day trip, Jerome is a nearby option in the Verde Valley Region and Antelope Canyon is a lonnng day trip option. Jerome is an interesting, mining ghost town that was booming in the late 1800’s that used to be called the wickedest town in the west. Now, it’s a tourist destination and fun to check out this stuck-in-time town. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Sedona.
Your other option is to do an Antelope Canyon day trip, which would make for a long day but if you’re an adventurous traveler, it’s totally doable! I’d highly recommend booking a day tour like this one, that will pick you up from your Sedona hotel, take you to Antelope Canyon as well as Horseshoe Bend. That way you can sleep in the car! They also take care of booking a Navajo guide for Antelope Canyon, because you can’t enter without one!
That’s my list of things to see in Sedona and all the top things to do! Hope it comes in handy if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful destination. I’ve visited twice and I can’t wait to go back again someday!
There are so many amazing things to do in Sedona including hiking, jeep tours, ATV riding, helicopter rides, hot air ballooning, and stargazing to name a few.
Hiking, stargazing, meditating at the vortexes, and driving the scenic routes are all free things to do in Sedona.
You should plan to spend at least three full days in Sedona, ideally four or five if you want to check out multiple hiking spots as there are so many to choose from.
The spring or fall are the best times to visit Sedona when the weather isn’t as hot.