I just got home from a three-day Sedona trip and I can’t wait to share all of my recommendations and suggestions with you. I do want to preface this by saying that I have been fully vaccinated since April and took precautions while traveling. Please do your own research with the CDC and WHO before traveling, this is not a guide about traveling during a pandemic.
Sedona is one of the most magical places I have ever had the opportunity to visit. I had heard stories about people feeling very called to Sedona, leaving a new person, recharging, etc. but I really didn’t know what to expect. I went on the trip with an open mind and a lot of excitement for my first real post-vaccine vacation!
There is so much to do in Sedona and I am already itching to go back in the fall.
Sedona Travel Guide
How to Get There
I booked this trip a few months ago and still wasn’t fully comfortable booking a plane ticket, which is the main reason I decided to do a road trip. My friend Haley and I hit the road at 5 AM and got into Sedona around 4 PM. We made a few stops along the way including the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Kanab, Utah, and Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. The drive was relatively easy, but 10 hours in the car does wear on you.
Usually, people fly into Phoenix, rent a car and drive a couple of hours to Sedona. When I visit again, I will definitely be doing this. A benefit to driving the whole way through was being able to pack lots of hiking gear and food for the hikes.
Where to Stay
There are a lot of great lodging options in Sedona. After reviewing a ton of properties, I ended up picking the Sky Rock Inn. The price was reasonable for this hotel and the location was unbeatable. Only a 10-minute drive to downtown and 20 minutes from all the hikes I had on my list. I didn’t realize this before booking but the Sky Rock Inn also offers the following amenities:
- Restaurant and bar in the lobby: This is great for a quick dinner or nightcap after a long day of hiking.
- Shuttle service to take you downtown: Parking is a hot mess in Sedona and the traffic can be really awful so this service made all the difference.
- Morning yoga and meditation outside: I did this on the last day and it was a real treat.
- Sound Healing: this happens once a week and was such a great experience.
- Stargazing: Sedona is a part of the International Dark-Sky Association and the stars were so beautiful. Getting to see them through telescopes and learning more about them was a very cool experience.
- Free breakfast and coffee available all day.
Next time I would upgrade to a room with a terrace.
Other places I considered staying.
The Amara Resort: if you are looking for a luxurious hotel with amazing views, this is the one for you.
This Airbnb: it is a little farther away from the town of Sedona but looks beautiful.
What to Pack
This question came up a few times so I thought I would break down everything I brought. The first thing you need to do is research the weather. From June-September can be extremely hot. We lucked out and had temps ranging from 54-83 our entire stay.
- Packable chair
- Water bladder
- Hiking Boots
- Hiking Socks
- Hiking poles
I didn’t need hiking poles for any of the hikes we did, but they definitely could come in handy. Most of the hikes I did were moderate to easy and didn’t require any technical equipment. Bringing a chair is a must because you will want to set up a good spot to watch sunsets.
For Exploring Town
- Casual is best
- Flowy dresses
- Jacket for the evenings
- Scrunchie for the windy days
Sedona is a pretty casual place, but there are a few exceptions at certain resorts and restaurants. I recommended packing a few sundresses that are comfy and cute.
Hikes to Do
Airport Mesa Loop: this was the first hike we did and I think it’s a great hike to start with for a few reasons. First of all the parking isn’t stressful. If the original lot is full you can drive up the road and pay $3 and there are tons of spots available. Second, it isn’t strenuous. Lastly, this hike gives you a view of all of Sedona. We went at sunset and it was beautiful (exceeding all of my sunset expectations). Even though we hiked out in the dark, I would absolutely do it again.
What I Packed: Windbreaker, packable chair, 2 liters of water, salami and cheese, canned wine, and a headlamp.
What I wore: leggings, sports bra, light layer, hiking boots, bandanna.
Cathedral Rock: for this hike, you will want to be there bright and early, like before sunrise early. It’s the only way you will get parking and not get heat exhaustion. This is a relatively short hike, but fair warning, it is straight-up the whole way there. There were spots where you had to really climb up rocks and be paying close attention to what you were doing. I do think most people can do this hike, but on AllTrails it is rated as moderate and I would say this is definitely a more difficult hike. The views were probably my favorite out of all the hikes we did and I plan to do this hike again.
What I Packed: coffee, granola, 2 liters of water, a light layer, and a headlamp.
What I Wore: leggings, sports bra, light layer, hat, and hiking boots.
The Birthing Cave: after a short break we headed over to the trailhead for the Birthing Cave. This hike is pretty short and flat almost the entire time. There is a short scramble at the very end but it is extremely manageable. The views from this small cave are spectacular and it’s a great spot to have lunch. When we got to the cave there was a large group of people there doing chakra healing and it was really fun to be part of it.
What I Packed: pb&j, sunscreen, 2 liters of water, and a light layer.
What I Wore: leggings, sports bra, hat, and hiking boots.
Devils Bridge: this was the last hike of our trip and started bright and early at 5 am in the parking lot. I highly recommend getting here that early because of the heat and the lack of parking (this is a common theme in Sedona). This trail was flat for 80% of the hike with a set of natural stairs to get to the bridge. Another reason to arrive early is that there is a line to walk out and take photos on the bridge (and you are going to want to walk out there). The bridge is much wider than it looks on camera and everyone is really nice about letting you take your time with photos and someone will take your photo if you are hiking alone.
What I Packed: pb&j, coffee, sunscreen, 3 liters of water, and a light layer.
What I Wore: shorts, sports bra, hat, and hiking boots.
Where to Eat
Cowboy Club: this is such a fun spot to grab dinner or lunch! I highly recommended getting their Prickly Pear Margarita and the Cactus Fries.
Whole Foods: being within walking distance of a Whole Foods was so convenient. We picked up lunches and snacks for hikes.
Salt Rock Kitchen: we went here for brunch on our last day in town and the meal was phenomenal. I got the green juice and eggs benedict. The views really can’t be beaten.
The Secret Garden: This place is great for a quick bite or cocktail. We had the breakfast croissant and a latte in between hikes.
Creekside Coffee: this is a MUST VISIT spot. They have a coffee shop upstairs and a full restaurant downstairs. We did both and really enjoyed both experiences. If you go for breakfast be sure to ask for a spot outside. All of the food and coffees were delicious.
Hypno Reiki: I did a session at Gateway Cottage Wellness and was blown away. I have never done a reiki session before and didn’t really know what to expect. If you are interested in Reiki or any other sort of healing session, check out this place.
Massage: I did a 90-minute therapeutic massage after 3 days of hiking and it was phenomenal. I went to Gateway Cottage Wellness and had a great experience but would love to try one of the resort spas next time.
Crystal Shopping: you can’t go to Sedona and not come back with a few crystals. There are tons of shops to choose from!
Yoga/Meditation: I did yoga and meditation at my hotel and it was such a great experience. Our teacher’s name was Chuck and he offers private and group classes. Next time I go, I would love to do a hike/yoga experience.
Sound Healing: this was offered by our hotel and was the perfect way to end the night. I had some of the best sleep I have ever had after this hour-long healing session. If you want to learn more about sound healing, click here.
Things on My List For Next Time
Since it was such a quick trip there were a handful of things I just wasn’t able to do. These are the top six things on my list for next time.
Other Things to Know
- Sedona is extremely dog-friendly. Every hike we went on had dogs and almost every restaurant and hotel we visited was dog friendly. Just be sure to bring extra water and booties for their paws as the ground does get hot.
- Energy Vortexes: Sedona is filled with energy vortexes which are places thought to be filled with energy that is healing. You can read more about them here. All of Sedona is a vortex but there are specific spots people go to meditate or journal or just be still so don’t be surprised if you see this. I truly believe that this town and these vortexes are powerful and it’s something you can’t quite explain, you just need to go and experience this for yourself.
- A lot of you asked what my favorite part or favorite activity from this trip was and I think the Hypno reiki session was my favorite part of the trip. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend going to do this. I walked away with clarity on a lot of things, a sense of lightness and joy, and was energized.