Last updated on: Jul 17, 2020
Arizona is one of my favorite U.S. states to visit. Not only do its epic landscapes make it the ultimate state road trips, but it’s also home to the grandest canyon of all. However, as grand as the Grand Canyon is, the place in Arizona that actually stole my heart is Sedona. Whether its a day trip from Sedona or a relaxing spa or romantic dinner, Sedona has so much to offer.
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Quite simply, Sedona is breathtaking. The city’s slogan is “the most beautiful place on earth”, and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree, because its beauty left me speechless as well as sleepless.
You could say I was ‘sleepless’ in Sedona! I roamed around all day and night, hiking through dramatic cliffs and canyons of red rock formations and gazing at the brilliance of stars in the night sky.
The beauty of Sedona was first displayed while driving into town on the Red Rock Scenic Byway. I ended up pulling over on the side of the road just to take in the scenery.
Practically everywhere I looked was a gorgeous backdrop of colorful red rocks. Never before had I visited a city with such unique, natural splendor!
Of course, no visit to the ‘Red Rock Country’ is complete without going for a hike or two. And there are so many trails to choose from, you will definitely need several day trips from Sedona to take it all in.
Either way, hiking is sure to be the highlight of your trip.
During my visit, I hiked both Mitten Ridge and Cathedral Rock trails. This involved some off-road driving, short hikes within Mitten Ridge, and longer hikes along Cathedral Rock. The landscapes were some of the most breathtaking I have ever seen anywhere in the world.
I honestly thought I found heaven’s door!
You can drive all the way from Sedona or drive an hour to Williams, Arizona, to take the historic Grand Canyon Railway to the Grand Canyon. There are six classes of service ranging from Pullman Class ($62 pp) to Luxury Parlor ($226 pp). The trip takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Taking the train is for those that desire the experience of train travel and to snap photos from the top of the canyon. If you would like to travel into the canyon, you will need to arrive early and spend the day there.
One of the most popular day trekking options is riding a mule on a guided tour.
Though you might not think of wine when you think of Arizona, the state has its own bona fide wine region. And after days of hiking, a visit to the wine country might be a welcome change of pace.
Central to the Verde Valley Wine Trail is Cottonwood, AZ, which about 20 miles southwest of Sedona. Vineyards in the area include Oak Creek Vineyards, DA Ranch, and Javelina Leap Vineyards. A bit farther are Alcantara Vineyards and Chateau Tumbleweed.
Of course, like all of Arizona, the region is beautiful.
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Though it’s a 2.5-hour drive each way, visiting Antelope Canyon is time well spent.
It’s one of the world’s most beautiful slot canyons, which are canyons formed by water rushing through rock over millions of years.
The canyon can only be visited with a tour guide from 7:30 am to 4:15 pm. Tours consist of 60 minutes inside the canyon, and prices are $80 for adults and $60 for children.
As an add-on, you can also visit nearby Horseshoe Bend in Utah on a packaged tour.
Sedona is one of the best cities in the world for viewing stars, due to its altitude, dry climate, and city ordinances that limit outdoor lighting, a.k.a. light pollution.
Within the area, there are many stellar places to view the constellations, Marg’s Draw, Centennial Trail, and Red Rock State Park, which also hosts ‘Star Parties’.
Evening Sky Tours offers small-group stargazing tours that allow you to view planets, nebula, and the Milky Way through a telescope.
For a small city, Sedona really has some incredible restaurants. One of the popular areas of the town is Oak Creek Village, which has many wonderful restaurants like Juniper Bar & Grille, where you can dine al fresco while enjoying stunning views.
Most hotels in the region have similar amenities with panoramic mountain views. Begin each day by watching the sunrise from your hotel room’s balcony or window, and end the day next to the the cozy in-room fireplace.
Hotels that make a great base for exploring the area include the Hilton Sedona Resort, which is located in Oak Creek Village at the foot of the Bell Rock hiking trail; Penrose Bed & Breakfast, a five-star bed-and-breakfast located beneath Castle Rock; the Hyatt Residence Club Pinon Pointe, which has a year-round outdoor pool; and L’Auberge de Sedona, the area’s most exquisite luxury hotel.
Aside from stargazing and outdoor activities, Sedona is home to a thriving art scene with villages such as Tlaqueplaque; scenic golf courses; and beautiful architecture that is inspired by Native American pueblo-style buildings.
Not to be missed is the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross, an intimate church built into red rocks and offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
The chapel is a great example of the modern architecture that the state is known for.
Before visiting Sedona, I had never heard of vortexes, but Sedona is home to four vortexes, which are said to be intersections of natural electromagnetic earth energy that promote spiritual healing and wellbeing.
I don’t know if it was the vortexes, but being in Sedona was certainly magical. Visiting Sedona touched something deep within my soul.
Have you visited the city? Did you do any day trips from Sedona?
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