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Sedona Itinerary: How to Spend 1-5 Days

Sedona Itinerary: How to Spend 1-5 Days

Building the best Sedona itinerary will help you get the most out of a part of the country unlike anyplace else you’ve seen.

It’s an otherworldly town surrounded by a desert landscape cut out of garnet cliffs and peppered with pines.

Just beyond town, trailheads beckon you to hike and explore scarlet buttes and rocks, spot wildlife, and scout for picnic areas.

In the summer, temperatures in the Arizona desert are commonly in the high 90s. But spring and fall are mild and beautiful.

The winters are pleasant too and many people will spend these months in Sedona to escape the chill and snow.

A good Sedona itinerary will help you get the most out of a part of the country unlike anyplace else you’ve seen.

View of Sedona, Arizona
View of Sedona at Sunset

Sedona sits in north-central Arizona making Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) the closest international airport at two hours of travel time by car.

Most major airlines fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor so booking a flight from many cities won’t be a problem.

Car rentals are available at the Phoenix Airport for which you should make reservations.

And an airport shuttle to and from Phoenix runs a few times a day.

In Sedona, there’s not much public transportation available and car rental options are limited.

But you can get around using your favorite ride-hailing app.

There’s so much to do when you visit Sedona that you’ll need an itinerary to keep you on track, and reveal the best places to go and how to get to them.

Sedona, Arizona | Attractions & Things to Do [4K HD]
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Packing List for Sedona 

One of the best pieces of travel advice in Sedona is to pack efficiently. The weather in Sedona is warm and hot in the morning and can get very cold at night, so packing to be prepared is an absolute must.

It’s best to pack light and only bring what is needed. Here’s what we prepared:

You don’t want to waste a minute in this spiritual oasis.

One Day Sedona Itinerary

Having a Sedona itInerary is even more important if you only have one or two days. Ours will give you the ultimate highlights.

Arrive early at the Red Rock Ranger Station and Visitor Center located at 8375 SR 179 in Sedona. Here you’ll get an overview of the area, as well as what to see and do.

Wander through the exhibits on red rock geology and the human history of the Verde Valley Area.

Then pick up a Red Rocks parking pass if you need it and trail maps. You’ll get tons of information on any of the area’s hiking trails.

Slather on your sunscreen and make sure you have water for hiking. A nice trail you can do in a short time in the morning cool is Devil’s Bridge.

Sedona itinerary includes Devil's Bridge hike

The two-mile path is well-defined with a slight elevation and some steep steps at the bridge. The hike will be approximately four miles total.

It’s easy, scenic, and a popular trail so you’ll see other hikers getting an early start too. But you’ll want to get a photo of yourself on top of the iconic natural bridge.

Then head uptown to the Sedona Trolley Depot to buy tickets for their highly-rated trolley tours. During peak season, reserve ahead of time.

There is a choice of two tours--one is a city tour, including a view of the Chapel of the Holy Cross and the other is a tour that takes you through West Sedona.

You’ll see Thunder Mountain, Chimney Rock, and pass into Boynton Canyon. Both tours are 55-minutes and cost $22 for adults and $14 for children 12 and under.

You can also opt to do a mini-coach tour that will pick you up from your hotel and includes all the city and desert highlights.

By now, it’s time for lunch and you’re hungry. Golden Goose American Grill on W State Route 89A offers a menu of steaks, salads, and seafood.

Their burgers and fries are also fan favorites. Reviewers raved about both the food and service.

After lunch, spend some time in town shopping for their famous new age shops. A few of these are on 89A.

Look for crystals, get readings and find other spiritual accessories and services.

Now that your aura’s in tip-top shape, browse the boutiques and art galleries for local designs, arts, and crafts.

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, a town favorite since the 1970s, is a shopping center of galleries and shops.

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village courtyard

Dotted with tree-lined courtyards, this collection is a delightful place to pick up treasures for your home, closet, and soul.

Look for local art pieces at Esteban’s and unique oils and vinegar at Spirits & Spice.

If you plan to overnight in Sedona, reservations are recommended. The gorgeous scenery inspires many to bring an RV so they are closer to nature.

Right outside of the town limits on 89A is Oak Creek Canyon. Here you’ll find several Forest Service campgrounds that are tent only and RV Parks.

Oak Creek Canyon Sedona

This area is shaded by canyon walls making it much cooler than in town.

An excellent hotel option is the Sedona Real Inn and Suites with a pool and free parking. A hot breakfast is included in the rate.

There’s also the Casa Sedona Inn, a luxury property with a AAA Diamond rating and designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

All guest rooms have fireplaces and private terraces. Onsite dining and an outdoor whirlpool are available.

Sedona also offers a variety of unique inns and guesthouses for a more local perspective.

See Related: Warmest Places to Visit in the United States

This area is shaded by canyon walls making it much cooler than in town.

An excellent hotel option is the Sedona Real Inn and Suites with a pool and free parking. A hot breakfast is included in the rate.

There’s also the Casa Sedona Inn, a luxury property with a AAA Diamond rating and designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

All guest rooms have fireplaces and private terraces. Onsite dining and an outdoor whirlpool are available.

Sedona also offers a variety of unique inns and guesthouses for a more local perspective.

See Related: Warmest Places to Visit in the United States

2 Day Sedona Itinerary: How to Make an Epic Weekend Trip

If you’re the spontaneous type and need things to do in Sedona this weekend, it’s easier than you think.

Sunset along Airport Road in Sedona

Go to Red Rock State Park, pick a trail and start a hike. It’s so beautiful, you can’t pick the wrong one.

Make sure you have sunscreen, water, salty snacks, and good shoes.

Drive the Scenic Byway to the Village of Oak Creek. No reservations are needed to drive this gorgeous stretch of road and enjoy the vistas.

If you’re visiting Sedona on a weekend trip, there’s plenty to do and see so you’ll want to be efficient. One popular activity is wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the area which is called the Verde Valley Wine Trail which is sure to not disappoint.

You can also find some fantastic Mexican food, as well as browse the shops. There’s something for everyone in Sedona.

3 Days in Sedona Itinerary

Our 3-days in Sedona Itinerary will help you make the most of at least two full days in and around town.

And for a good Sedona, Arizona itinerary, 3 days lets you hit the highlights as well as gives you time for extra exploration.

You’ve had an amazing first day with our one-day Sedona travel itinerary that gave you a nice hike to Devil’s Bridge and an afternoon of shopping.

For your second day, get an early start with a pre-dawn wake-up to see a red rock sunrise. Grab a hearty breakfast either at the hotel or campsite,

Or try a town favorite, the Red Rock Cafe. An affordable breakfast/brunch place, it’s located on Verde Valley School Road next to Clark’s Market.

While we think you’ll need protein to properly fuel your day, you must try (and split with your companions) one of their 3-pound cinnamon rolls!

Now that you have a better sense of how the area is laid out, try a self-guided driving tour.

The Red Rock Scenic Byway takes you through Sedona’s famous Red Rock Country. It’s also a designated All American Road.

Exit 298 from I-17 for a spectacular 7.5-mile drive along Hwy 179. On your route are opportunities to stop and eat, hike or even play golf.

You’ll end your mini road trip north of the Village of Oak Creek. Have your camera ready to take eleventy-million shots of all the gorgeous scarlet landscape.

Village of Oak Creek as you arrive on the scenic byway.

By now, you’re close to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Local rancher Marguerite Brunswig Staude took inspiration from New York City’s Empire State Building.

She commissioned the chapel which was finished in 1956. It’s particularly famous for being designed by notable architect, August K. Strotz.

The chapel’s 90-foot cross is awe-inspiring. Stop for some quiet time at the chapel and enjoy the scenery.

The rest of the Village of Oak Creek is a mix of residential and business. Spend an afternoon hiking, dining, and shopping around this charming community.

Have dinner and a refreshing Nut Brown Ale at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill. Then wrap up another amazing Sedona day with an evening of stargazing.

The next day is when you should explore Sedona’s famous vortexes. The red rocks are more than simply beautiful.

A red rock vortex in Sedona

They are said to emanate cosmic energy like the mystical places of Stonehenge, Macchu Picchu, and the Pyramids of Giza.

While the greater Sedona area is considered a vortex, there are four specific ones where you can feel the energy more intensely.

Each vortex has its own vibe. Take a guided tour or explore on your own:

  • Cathedral Rock Trail: This iconic formation gives you a panorama of the valley and is worth the climb. The energy is feminine and calming.
  • Airport Mesa: A more strenuous hike will take you there or you can view it from an overlook on Airport Road. This vortex is one of the most powerful in the area.
  • Bell Rock: You can see (and feel) Bell Rock from Uptown Sedona. Climb it if you’d like to feel stronger energy.
  • Boynton Canyon Trail: A three-mile trail will take you to this vortex. It’s a good vortex for meditation since there are fewer visitors.
Bell Rock

Pick out a Southwest or Mexican restaurant for lunch and a rest. Elote Cafe is on Jordan Road and offers delicious, fresh southwestern cuisine.

Try their famous pork cheeks or carnitas. Vegetarian dishes are also available.

For your last afternoon on our Sedona 3 day itinerary, take a guided jeep tour through the desert and visit a winery for some tastings.

See Related: Best Things to do in Sedona with Kids

4 Days in Sedona Itinerary

If you’re lucky enough to have a fourth day, add to our Sedona 3 day itinerary with a focus on your wellness.

Spend this day at one of Sedona’s renowned spas and wellness centers. Or you can do another vortex tour combined with yoga and mediation.

There are a number of spiritual guides that can take you on through an experience of healing and finding inner peace.

Man meditating on a cliff at sunrise.

You may even want to book a resort experience with a full-service spa onsite and world-class dining.

The Sedona Rouge Resort is a Mediterranean-styled oasis in the desert with spacious, well-appointed guest rooms and a spa offering a full treatment menu.

Reds Sedona Grill is the resort’s lounge and grill offering Southwest flavored American classics.

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Sedona Itinerary

Yes, a Sedona, Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon itinerary can be done in one vacation. No, you shouldn’t do them all in one day.

Inside the red-tinged lower canyon of Antelope Canyon.

All three locations are magnificent and you shouldn’t rush through any of them. But, it is completely doable on one trip to the southwest.

We’ve outlined several options for an amazing Sedona travel itinerary for one to four days. So how do you add the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon?

One option is to book a tour that includes a ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

This is an all-day trip that originates at the depot in Williams, AZ.

Kids will love this way of traveling through the countryside as cowboys provide entertainment onboard.

Disembark at the Grand Canyon Depot and wander the historic Grand Canyon Village.

You can also skip the train and travel by mini-coach through breathtaking Ponderosa forests, the San Francisco Peaks, and the Navajo Reservation.

After lunch on your own, meet your guide for a tour along the South Rim.

Dawn on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Fall in love with the vistas, take safe selfies and see the iconic Watchtower at the end of scenic Desert View Drive.

After approximately 4-hours at the Grand Canyon, you’ll be taken back to Sedona via mini-coach along the East Rim and the Little Colorado River Gorge.

There’s also an option to stay for dinner at the famed Arizona Room and a guided tour to the best spot for a brilliant Grand Canyon sunset experience.

You can also easily spend a day in Antelope Canyon on an all-day guided tour. Get picked up from your Sedona hotel for the scenic drive to Flagstaff.

From Flagstaff, you’ll pass by the San Francisco Peaks and through the Navajo Reservation. Your guide will share information about Navajo culture.

You’ll stop at Horseshoe Bend for a spectacular view of the Colorado River. Then on to Page, AZ, for lunch.

Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River Grand Canyon

A Navajo guide will meet you for an amazing tour of Antelope Canyon. You’ll get incredible photos of the canyon walls.

Get dropped off back at your Sedona hotel.

See Related: Best Hotels in Page, Arizona

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Sedona, AZ

When you visit Sedona you’ll find that it is a great place for a family vacation. The camping is incredible and you’ll make memories as numerable as the stars.

Or choose a family-friendly hotel complete with a refreshing swimming pool and free wifi.

The Marriott Courtyard Sedona is only 3-miles south of Uptown and has a viewing deck and meditation area.

Their full-service Bistro offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for even more convenience and their oversized guest rooms easily accommodate families.

Kids love to hike in Red Rock State Park. The Visitor Center can offer more information on guided hikes, including moonlit treks and nature walks to see the iconic red rock formations that are unlike anywhere else in the world.

They can also sell Red Rock parking passes that will cover the entry cost at most trails.

Hikes to Chapel of the Holy Cross, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Oak Creek Canyon are all family-friendly.

Trek out to one of the vortices and feel the good vibrations. There are also a number of natural swimming holes to explore.

Add a day at Slide Rock State Park about bout seven miles from town.

Sliding the rocks of Slide Rock Park.

The red rocks from an 80-foot long natural slide to slip you into the bracing waters of Oak Creek. Swim, splash and enjoy a fun day.

The entrance fee is $20 per vehicle.

Another pretty swimming hole is called Grasshopper Point. Lined in red cliffs and shady trees, it’s a nice way to escape the summer heat.

It will get crowded midday. But if you go late afternoon, more space will be free as families prepare to leave.

Crescent Moon Picnic area, or Red Rock Crossing as it’s often called, is an Instagram-worthy spot for bringing breakfast or lunch and cooling your feet.

Splash and take photos of the iconic red cliffs reflected in the water of the creek canyon. And you get amazing views of Cathedral Rock.

Any of the Jeep tours are a must-do for families, especially early in your stay so you can get an overview of what Sedona has to offer. You can even take a Pink Jeep tour from downtown Sedona if you are feeling a little extra that day.

People taking a jeep tour of Sedona.

There are many other types of tours to take too. Railways, helicopters, and horses offer one-of-a-kind perspectives on the area’s sights.

Take in a magnificent sunset at the Airport Overlook. If all the good parking spots are taken, pay $3 and park at the airport.

South of town, Montezuma Castle is a budget-friendly, educational attraction.

Pre-Columbian cliff dwelling outside of Sedona

It’s only $5 for children 16 and under and free for young kids to see this extraordinary pre-Columbian period cliff dwelling.

Take your little animal lovers to see the lions, tigers and bears, and more at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde.

Don’t miss their daily Tiger Splash show. The park is a great experience for all ages.

If you’re looking for free things to do in Sedona with kids, definitely make the drive along Red Rock Scenic Byway for the views.

Window shopping at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village is fun and it’s also a good place to find a cafe for lunch or dinner.

Another excellent shopping and dining district is Hillside Sedona. Here you can browse art galleries and boutiques.

Enjoy the gorgeous red rock scenery in the background and make wishes in one of the numerous fountains.

See Related: The Ultimate Scottsdale Itinerary

When is the Best Time to Visit Sedona, Arizona?

The best time of year to visit Sedona, Arizona, is during the fall when the leaves are changing color. The temperatures are mild and the crowds are smaller than in the summer or winter.

Fall is the best time to visit Sedona, Arizona because the temperatures are mild and the crowds are smaller.

The golden hue of a sunrise hike or sunset hike is unlike anywhere else in the entire world. Your Sedona adventure will be filled with all the different hiking trails and without the heat, which makes it easy to take in the stunning views of the red rock formations.

There are also many different events and festivals going on during this time of year.

See Related: Best Things to do in Arizona

Activities to Enjoy in Sedona

There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Sedona, Arizona. Hiking is a popular activity, as there are many different trails to explore. You can also go shopping or dine in the town center. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, there are plenty of activities to choose from, such as horseback riding, rafting, and Jeep tours.

With its vibrant red rocks and stunning desert scenery, Sedona is one of Arizona’s most popular tourist destinations. And it’s no wonder why – there’s so much to see and do in this beautiful place.

If you’re planning a trip to Sedona, you might be wondering how to make the most of your time there. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a perfect day in Sedona.

1. Start your day with a hike.

There are a variety of routes to select from, ranging from easy to difficult. Cathedral Rock trail or Boynton Canyon Trail are two of the finest viewpoints if you want some of the best views that Northern Arizona has to offer.

2. Next, head to Oak Creek Canyon for a swim.

You can find a number of secluded swimming holes where you can cool off and take in the scenery during a perfect Sedona afternoon.

3. In the afternoon, explore Sedona’s shops and galleries.

There’s plenty of great art to be found in this town, so don’t miss out on browsing the local galleries.

4. Take in the sunset over the red rocks

Make sure to catch a sunset over the red rocks during your Sedona trip – it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. One of the best places to watch the sunset is from atop Bell Rock.

There are plenty of other great things to see and do in Sedona, so don’t be afraid to explore a little. The town is full of charming boutiques, delicious restaurants, and awe-inspiring views. So whatever you do, make sure to enjoy your time in this beautiful corner of the world.

See Related: Visiting Goblin Valley State Park

Final Thoughts

While you can’t see everything on a whirlwind weekend, whatever you choose to do won’t be wrong. In fact, in Sedona, it might be kismet.

If you find yourself in Sedona, do not hesitate to explore. The city and its surroundings offer a wealth of activities and natural wonders that are sure to please. While it is impossible to see everything in such a short time, the memories you make will be ones you cherish for a lifetime. So get out there and explore!

FAQ

How many days do you need in Sedona?

It depends on what you want to do. If you’re looking to take in the scenery and relax, then three or four days is plenty. However, if you want to explore all of the hiking and biking trails, then you’ll probably want to stay for 5 days or more. No matter how long you stay, make sure to take some time to just enjoy the views – they’re absolutely breathtaking.

Are 3 days enough in Sedona?

There’s no definitive answer, as it depends on what you want to do and see while in Sedona. However, if you’re looking to explore the main attractions and take part in some of the popular activities, then three days is likely enough time.

Is Sedona, Arizona worth visiting?

If you’re looking for something to do in Arizona, Sedona is truly worth it. Sedona has spectacular scenery and hiking trails that are breathtaking and unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s a good spot for foodies who are going to enjoy the wide variety of restaurants and cafes and it appeals as much to those with artsy/spiritual passions.

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