Ahhh Sedona… my tranquil peaceful escape. It had been years since our last visit, but we certainly took advantage upon our return last Summer. Tucked away in the desert about 2 hours North of Phoenix, AZ, Sedona is surrounded by magnificent red rocks. It’s the perfect travel getaway for city folk like myself. Sedona is known for its energy vortexes which alludes as a spiritual haven for those looking to renew and restore. Whether you’re one who believes in vortexes or not, I think most would agree that Sedona is a great place to unwind.
We stayed at Diamond Resort’s Sedona Summit, located approximately 4.5 miles from the city center. It took some , but I managed to get an amazing balcony view of the red rocks. Travel Tip: Call your hotel directly (not a reservation desk) ahead of time to inquire about views. Simply request for a room with a view. You will be informed that your request is not a guarantee, but most hotels will do what they can to accommodate your request.
Here are my Top 10 Things to Do in Sedona:
Known as an artist community, Sedona has a lot of whimsical shops, boutiques, and galleries to browse and make unique purchases. Plan a day for shopping, and of course, stop for a bite to eat. There are many good and tasty restaurants to choose from. We particularly enjoyed Javelina Cantina which is located at the Hillside Shopping Center and offers red rock views.
2. Paint N Play
During our shopping escapade, we came across this fun little spot called Paint N Play. Considering we’re in a peaceful setting amongst the majestic red rocks with energy vortexes, why wouldn’t we take advantage of connecting with our inner artist? My daughter and I threw on a bib, stood in front of a blank canvas, grabbed some paint, and let our creative juices flow. And, Voila! A masterpiece was born.
3. The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park
If looking to have a peaceful spiritual experience, then definitely don’t miss a visit to the Amitabha Stupa. Open at sunrise and close at dusk, the Amitabha Stupa is a quiet place for everyone to enjoy. You don’t have to be Buddhist to take a stroll around the park, sit, pray or meditate. A Stupa is a post of compassion that ignites the power of prayer and promotes peace.
4. Jeep Tour
There are a few jeep tours in Sedona. Being that Pink Jeep Tours is the most popular one, we opted for the other guy, Safari Jeep Tours. Safari Jeep Tours offers a variety of tour packages on different ways to explore Sedona. We ended up doing the Archeology tour since my daughter studied Native American petroglyphs in school and thought it would be really cool to witness firsthand – and it was! Note: highly recommend long pants and hiking boots if doing a hiking tour to protect skin from the wildlife elements.
5. Chapel of the Holy Cross
There is no way to miss this captivating Roman Catholic chapel from Hwy 179 as it juts out from the buttes of the red rocks. Chapel of the Holy Cross is a place for all denominations to visit, pray, and/or check out the gift shop. It is one of the most highly visited places in Sedona.
6. Montezuma Castle National Monument
4o minutes South of Sedona lies Montezuma Castle National Monument, a spectacular cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua people over 300 years ago. A self-guided, 1/3-mile loop trail leads to the dwelling nestled 5-stories above in the cliffs. The Visitor Center hours are from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. As of August 4, 2015, the fee increased to $10 per person, but it allows access to both Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments.
7. Tuzigoot National Monument
A half hour drive from Montezuma (and also en route to the town of Jerome) is the Tuzigoot National Monument. This ancient pueblo, also built by the Sinagua people, sits upon a hilltop in the middle of the desert. It’s a great experience to walk through the pueblo and imagine how these people lived hundreds of years ago.
8. Town of Jerome
Continuing on Hwy 89A, Jerome, AZ is an approx. a 15 minute drive from Tuzigoot National Monument (or 40 minutes from Sedona), located on Cleopatra Hill. Known as one of America’s largest Ghost Towns, Jerome was a copper mining town during the 1920s. It was named the “Wickedest City in the West” as it had its fair share of mining accidents and gun fights, but after a big mining blast in the late 1930s, Jerome’s population went from 15,000 dwindling down to 50 (earning its ghost town title). Today Jerome is an artist’s community of around 400 residents filled with shops, restaurants, hotels, and tourists. A fun place to spend the day and learn about the ghost sightings of the town. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, be sure to check out Mile High Grill & Spirits – a local’s favorite in the heart of town.
9. Swim in Oak Creek
Nothing like cooling off from the hot desert sun in a creek. A drive to Red Rock State Park and entrance fee of $5 for Adults, $3 for Youth, and kids under 6 free gives access to a short walk to the creek. The rocks are slippery so consider swim shoes, but they make great slides.
10. Watch a Sedona Sunset
One of the best parts of Sedona are its incredible sunsets. Watching the sun descend over the red rocks giving off brilliant red and orange glows is a special treat. A favored spot to see the sunset is at the Airport Overlook located on Airport Rd. just of off Hwy 89A.