I have been extremely blessed to be born a short drive away from one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Whenever I get the chance, I hop in the car and drive 2 hours north to enjoy the red rocks, greenery, and much cooler weather. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you make sure to pencil in a trip because it is truly something you have never seen before. When I go, I tend to only go for a day or two so here’s a list of highlights that I believe you should hit when you’re short on time!
Places to Stay
- L’Auberge De Sedona
Although I have not personally stayed at this hotel, the last time I visited, we decided to walk around the property and see what it had to offer. With creek side dining, personal cabins you can stay in, and beautiful views of the red rocks, this hotel is one of the most exquisite hotels that you will find in Sedona. Who wouldn’t want to sit by the fire on their own personal fireplace on a chilly night? It’s also conveniently located walking distance from downtown Sedona where you can find many shops and restaurants.
- Amara Resort & Spa
This is the hotel that I stayed at most recently and I have to say, it won me over. When you walk through the doors past the modern lobby, the first thing you see is the creek, an infinity edged pool, and a courtyard set up with fire pits and chairs. From 5-6 they offer wine hour that includes free red or white wine (who could pass that up, am I right?) and every morning there is complimentary tea and coffee along with yoga. I contemplated spending all of my time just in the hotel. But if you do decide to leave, (which I suggest you do) there’s complimentary valet parking, and a shuttle that runs anywhere within a one mile radius, making visiting downtown Sedona effortless.
Where To Eat
- Elote Cafe
Boy, oh boy. my mouth is just watering thinking about Elote. Located right of State Route 179, this southern Mexican meets American southwest restaurant has been mentioned by multiple magazines such as The Arizona Republic, The New York Times, and Phoenix Magazine. It is open Tuesday – Saturday (so don’t try to get in on Sunday or Monday, you’ll just be disappointed. I know from personal experience) and opens after 5 PM. I’m warning you now, there will probably be a wait and they do not take reservations. It is one of the most well known restaurants in Sedona. If you ask a local where to get dinner, this will be their answer. Every. Time. It is worth it though. In warmer weather, you can sit overlooking the mountains and sipping a margarita. Perfection in my book.
- Saltrock Kitchen
Located within the Amara, these margaritas and tacos will change your life. Although I did not make it for breakfast, I read Yelp reviews that did mention the breakfast was delicious. The dinner menu was enough for me. I had the grilled corn, smoked chicken tostadas, and the la verdad margarita. If you’re anything like me, you live off of chips and salsa. It is not placed on the table like many other Mexican restaurants so I highly recommend ordering a batch before your meal arrives. The salsa is killer. I walked away with my belt loosened a notch.
- Indian Gardens Cafe & Market
This little market is right off 89A, only minutes before Slide Rock. Although you would not expect it to have delicious food, this little deli on the side of the road is my go to spot whenever I’m in Sedona. With salads, soups, sandwiches, coffees and teas, beer, and wine, the options are endless. When it’s cold, my personal fave is the grilled cheese, a bowl of soup, and a mint green tea. They have seating inside as well as out however it is pretty limited inside and when it’s cooler outside, they’re usually pretty full. Don’t fret. There are blankets on every seat outside that you can wrap yourself up in and enjoy the food as well as your surroundings.
Things To Do
- Hike Bell Rock
Bell Rock is one of the easiest hikes in Sedona, sitting at 0.75 miles. The ground is extremely flat and it forms a loop, making it quick. If you like a little more adventure, there are areas where you can climb up bell rock and look over Sedona. I would not recommend this for anyone who is not comfortable climbing up a mountain with no path. It can be a bit steep and depending on the weather, might be slippery at times.
- Visit Slide Rock
This state park gets its name from the natural water slide created from the slippery bed of Oak Creek. Although it is open year round, the best time to spend time in the creek is May – August when the water is at it’s warmest temperatures. This water can be extremely cold so be prepared to shiver. Once you’re in though, you get used to it quickly. Along with the natural water slide, there are cliffs you can jump off and hiking paths. Although you can’t swim in the fall or winter, I still recommend stopping by and taking in the scenery.
- Chapel of the Holy Cross
I’ve been to Sedona countless times but it wasn’t until my most recent trip that I was able to visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Unless you plan on going in and worshipping, visiting the chapel takes about 5 minutes but don’t cross it off your list. If you have a spare moment or you’re on your way back to Phoenix, stop by and capture some incredible shots.
- Hike Devil’s Bridge
If you’re looking up things to do in Sedona, I can guarantee you that Devil’s Bridge makes almost every list. But with good reason. During spring and summer days, this hike can be exceptionally busy. It’s a moderate hike, lasting about 2 miles (1 mile each way). The main parking area is on FR 152 and although many blogs say that high clearance vehicles are recommended, I say go for it. Most cars can make it but proceed with caution, just in case. This will save you a lot of walking. If you know me, you know I’m terrified of heights. I don’t even like going up the stairs of waterpark slides. Walking onto the bridge is well worth it though. It seems extremely thin in pictures but you have a lot of space to walk around without feeling as if you’re going to fall.
- Grasshopper Swimming Hole
In the warmer months, Grasshopper swimming hole is one of the best places to cool off. When I visited in May, there were only a few people and parking was easily accessible. It’s a short walk down a trail and once there, you find a fairly private and quiet swimming hole that includes cliffs to jump off and rocks to sprawl out on and tan. If possible, wear shoes!! I can’t stress this enough. I went barefoot and I regretted it immediately. The water is fairly shallow and the bottom is nothing but rock and it can be rough on your feet. If you decide to hike up a bit and cliff jump, the shoes will come in handy.
- Just drive
I know this sounds silly but driving around and listening to some good tunes (did I just age myself by saying tunes?) is one of the best ways to explore Sedona. There are spots to pull of the side of the road to hike or walk down to the creek almost everywhere on the highway.
That’s it, folks (wow I really am 80)! I’m always exploring and I’m sure I’ll end up making another post later on with even more things to do. Oh and one more tip before I go! If you want to save some money, try to go on a weekend of a national holiday. Parking for hikes and swimming holes is free. Thanks for reading! If you know of any places I’m missing, comment and let me know. I love to hear about others’ experiences 🙂