Sedona, Arizona: A Travel Guide to Maximize your Visit

Sedona, Arizona is a nature lovers’ dream! I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone tremendously during this trip. I was never one to be “outdoorsy” and I was able to acclimate to my surroundings and go with the overall flow of the trip.

When to Travel to Sedona

Arizona as a whole is known for extremely hot and borderline uncomfortable weather. Most of the year it is blazing, but there are a select few months that are the ideal times to travel. September, October, and November are the best times to travel because it is still warm but comfortable to be outside for an extended period of time. 

What to Consider when Buying your Flight

  1. Find the airport that’s closest to your destination. The Phoenix airport is a 1 hour 40 min drive from Sedona.
  2. Compare prices with multiple providers! Skyscanner has always been my favorite, but I’ve recently been using Google flights more often.
  3. Pick the right dates. You should allot at least 2 full days to explore Sedona and the surrounding area, and in my opinion, 3 full days is the perfect amount of time to get a mixture of a few hikes, swimming, and relaxation into your stay. We landed at 8:40am on Friday morning and departed Sunday at 6pm. Consider taking a day off of work, or even working a half day while traveling to Arizona.
  4. Rent a car at the airport. Renting at the airport makes pick up and drop off quick and easy. Our Dollar rental for the whole weekend was $130. 

Where to Stay in Sedona

Sedona offers a wide range of lodging options spanning between hotels and Airbnb’s. We decided to go with an Airbnb to offer more space at a lower cost per person for the weekend for our group of 4. We loved our Airbnb! It was in a central location to food and convenience stores, and was equipped with a full kitchen, wide screen TV, spacious and decorative living room, and large 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. The complex offered a tennis court and large pool and hot tub. If you’re interested in booking this Airbnb, here is the link

If you want to opt for a hotel, the best reviews were seen at the Hilton Sedona Resort .

Food and Supplies in Sedona

  • Places to eat:
    • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in Phoenix before driving to Sedona
    • Butterfly Burger
    • Cucina Rustica
    • J Wine Bistro
    • Rotten Johnny’s Wood Fired Pizza
    • Miley’s Cafe for breakfast burritos
    • Red Chopstick Chinese food
  • Grocery stores
    • Clark’s market is a large grocery store to pick up smaller items such as water and granola bars for our hike, and other snacks

What to Do in Sedona

Our main destinations were: Grand Canyon, Cathedral Rock, & the Bullpen 

Before venturing to Sedona, we drove past it to make it to our first destination for the trip: the Grand Canyon! We learned it is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World! When I knew we were traveling to Arizona, I had to make this trip happen! It was about 2 hours north of our Sedona Airbnb. The natural erosion of the rocks are so breathtakingly beautiful, I was in awe the entire hike. Marveling at a place like this is easy, when you allow yourself to disconnect, reflect, and take in the beauty around you.

Recommendations for Visiting the Grand Canyon

  1. Buy your parking pass ahead of your visit. Parking pass per vehicle is $38
  2. Bring a jacket! It is surprisingly windy and not as hot as you’d expect it to be in late October 
  3. Go to the Visitor Center to grab a map and ask for directions and sights to visit. The Grand Canyon is massive! We had never been their before so we wanted to ask the rangers for their suggestions on where we should spend most of our time.
  4. Utilize the free shuttles! Again, this place is huge. To get from one main point to the next, the free shuttle within the park came in handy and allowed us to take a breather. 
  5. Bring snacks! We got here in the late afternoon and hadn’t eaten lunch, and it was going to be hours until we had a real meal. The snacks were lightweight but filling enough to get us through the hike.
  6. Budget your time wisely. We stayed there for 3 hours, and only saw a portion of the massive park. If you plan on seeing multiple sections, you should plan to stay for a full day.
  7. Take lots of pictures! I mean c’mon- it’s the Grand Canyon! You’ll want to remember this moment for a lifetime!
  8. Must-see trails and viewpoints: South Rim trail, Mather Point, Yaki Point, Hopi Point, Powell Point, Mohave Point

Hiking in Sedona

Sedona is the place to hike and is famous for its red rocks! We were only able to do one hike in Sedona so we pick the most popular. Cathedral Rock Hike is a 1.4 mile climb (2.8 mile round trip) which has many red rock pillars & beautiful Sedona views. 

Recommendations for Cathedral Rock Hike

  1. Bring an ample amount of water. Camelbacks are the perfect way to transport the water while hiking. My boyfriend brought his and we were able to refill it before the hike and I used my water bottle as extra water to refill his camelback.
  2. Start in the morning. The sun starts to beat down hard at noon, so we did our best to start the hike at 10am and got to the top before it got too hot. The earlier you go, the less trafficked the hike will be! 
  3. Take breaks! A 1.4 mile incline may sound like a baby hike, but make no mistake: this was a bit extraneous. I exercise quite frequently, and yet I was still huffing and puffing throughout the journey. Taking breaks allowed me to regain my strength as well as take in the expansive views and capture some pictures. 
  4. Wear shoes with proper traction. This hike requires you to legitimately rockclimb. I repeat: you will be climbing rocks, a lot of them. This is the part that gets tricky, because if you don’t have proper footwear, you will slide and most likely injure yourself. Hiking boots are recommended, but I just wore fairly new Nikes which had good traction. 
  5. Wear light and breathable athletic clothes. Like I said above, it’s hot in Arizona, and when you combine exercising, you are highly likely to sweat. I suggest biker shorts and a light t-shirt or a sports bra.
  6. Track your progress! I have a Whoop band and I love using it for excursions such as this because it shows in real time how hard my body is working and exercising. It gives you an immense sense of accomplishment when you see your stats, and motivates you to keep moving! If you’re interested in getting a Whoop band, use my referral code for 1 month free! 

Other Notable Hikes to Try!

  1. Devils Bridge Hike: 4.2 mile loop said to be popular for photographer at sunrise and sunset 
  2. The Birthing Cave: 2 mile loop, which features a famous red cave 
  3. Soldier Pass Hike: 4.2 mile loop, is famous for the small swimming holes

Recommendations on Swimming Holes

Sedona is also known for its swimming holes. We ventured to one completely off the grid called The Bullpen. It was 50 minutes away from our Airbnb, but I heard great reviews about it and wanted to see it in person. The ride was very rocky and desolate. Recommendations for traveling here:

  1. Rent a car that can endure rocky and unpaved roads like an SUV or truck
  2. Start your travel with plenty of sunlight, as the sunsets around 5pm and there are no streetlights 
  3. Bring a change of clothes in the car and flip flops. You don’t want to sit in wet clothes for the ride home after swimming 
  4. Bring snacks and drinks! It made the rock jumping that much more bearable and we did not have to stop off somewhere to eat
  5. Know how to get there: this link greatly helped us pinpoint our destination before we started our journey

There are many other swimming holes to choose from! Browse this link to find the most beautiful and popular swimming holes in Sedona.

What to Consider when Departing Arizona

  • Traffic is a whole other world of pain here. Leave with ample time, honestly as early as possible to avoid the afternoon rush, especially on the weekends. We were not able to do a hike on Sunday because traffic kept jumping up. The ride to the airport took almost 4 hours instead of under 2 hours. 

Overall, I had an amazing time in the desert state, and will be back for another visit! To see my Arizona experiences come to life, watch my latest YouTube video below!

I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful for your upcoming trip! Please comment any thoughts and questions below, and share with your friends and family! For more content related to travel, check out my recent blog posts below: 

1 Comment

  1. January 31, 2021 / 10:48 pm

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