Sedona, Arizona, roughly two hours outside of Phoenix, is known for it's vibrant art and food scene but we were fans of the amazing hiking. Several well-marked trails are available throughout the area. Central Sedona also offers fun window shopping with it it's eclectic style. The Grand Canyon is just a couple hour drive from Sedona, makes for a good day trip as well. For photographers, Sedona is a particularly great destination. The red rock geology offers breathtaking views with colors that vary wildly depending on the time of day. Sedona can also be quite expensive so we recommend staying at an AirBnB and limiting dining out if you're budget conscious. Hiking is free but you will need a rental car to get around.
Hiking: Sedona is the home of some of the best hiking opportunities. Gorgeous vistas featuring Sedona's red rock formations are virtually at every turn. This no-cost activity is best in the morning to avoid the heat or crowds. Most trails are marked well. Bring layers, lots of water, and proper sun protection as weather can change dramatically and there is virtually no cover.
Central Sedona: Central Sedona offers a fun mix of Southwest and New Age styles. Art galleries, open markets, and eclectic shops are fun to walk through.
Day Trip to Grand Canyon: Sedona is just two hours to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Skip the expensive lodging near the Park and make this a day trip instead. Arrive early at the Park, before the crowds and heat. The Grand Canyon itself is hard to describe as it's hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring it is. The enormity can only be appreciated with an in-person visit. This is a "must do," while visiting the Sedona area.
Slide Rock State Park: Located approximately 7 miles from Sedona, this Park has a natural water slide through the river that runs through it. Those on the more adventurous side be vaulted through the slippery rocks. Entrance fees to the park are $20/vehicle.
Where We Stayed
Air BnB Listing: This Air BnB is located near central Sedona in a quiet neighborhood at the base of some beautiful red rocks. At $125/night it is affordable as compared to most lodging in the area and fit our needs just fine. Clean, spacious and a great launching point for hikes in the area. Photo credit (right): Air BnB listing.
Where We Ate
Elote Café: This popular, southwest restaurant was packed, so reservations are recommended. Order the Elote, their signature dish. It's amazing. (no photo)
Red Rock Café. The cinnamon rolls here are iconic so of course we had to try them. What we did not know was how HUGE they were. We had initially ordered four of them (one for each of us), and the waitress was like, "um...I don't think you want that." As it turns out, just one is fine for a family of 4. The very sweet treat was tasty!