Arizona

Sedona Should Be On Your Bucketlist and Here’s Why

Up on Submarine Rock with the kids

I recently read a study that claimed 69% of millennials choose their vacation destination based on how it will look on Instagram. Kinda of sad, but not surprising. If that is indeed a factor in your travel plans, Sedona should be on your bucketlist for sure!

A lot of people want to see the Grand Canyon. It’s one of those natural wonders you must see to believe. But there is so much more to Arizona then one National Park. We spent 7 nights in the Sedona area of this beautiful state and easily could have spent more.

A Destination In Itself

Courthouse Butte in the background

Ever seen the Disney Pixar film Cars? Sedona really does look like that! As we headed South from Flagstaff, we suddenly went from dry and barren fields to a dramatic landscape of green cactus and red rocks. We wound down and around steep cliffs and it was like we left one country behind and entered another.

Wow! I can’t tell you how many times we said that word during our 8 days in the area. It’s the kind of place that doesn’t do pictures justice, and there are signs all along the highways reminding you to please not stop on the road to take photos. They kindly provide little parking lots whenever possible.

Just a side of the highway view…

The main route through town is one lane each direction and can be slow going if you get caught in rush hour traffic. Most people aren’t in a hurry here; this is a leisure and retirement town after all. The average age of residents is around 59 years old. Most work in the tourism industry or run restaurants and shops.

What Is There To Do In Sedona?

If you’re thinking you’d simply sleep here and then head out of town for activities, there’s really no need. You can absolutely spend a day or two lounging around the pool of a beautiful Resort, but there’s also tons of hiking, shopping, and photography opportunities locally.

Our Pink Jeep!

One of the first experiences we booked was a Pink Jeep Tour. True, it’s a splurge, but I cannot recommend this adventure enough! It ended up being the highlight of our vacation for me and my oldest child. We took the Broken Arrow tour, which takes you into the back country of Sedona and home to many famous Western Films, like Jimmy Stewart’s Broken Arrow. Our guide, Kevin, filled us in on flora and animal facts, told us about crazy bike riders who scale the local cliffs, and took many photos of us in ideal and gorgeous locations. I would book a tour with them again in a heartbeat.

Slide Rock State Park – It was a cooler morning.

Slide Rock State Park is another must-do. A series of small and gently cascading water falls makes this canyon a great spot on a hot day. Certain areas are very deep so strong swimming abilities or life jackets are needed, but there are lots of great spots for splashing as well. Take note, the water is freezing cold and large cliff spots make watching your kids closely a necessity.

Heading towards Bell Rock for an evening hike.

A moment I will never forget was hiking Bell Rock just as the sun began to set, giving us a phenomenal view of the Sedona vistas. We climbed until the path got difficult and then we just sat and took it all in. You’ll want running shoes, but the red rocks are surprisingly easy to grip. Words cannot describe the beauty there, you simply have to see it to believe it.

Chapel of the Holy Cross from a distance.

Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most popular sites in Sedona. Driving up to a huge church with a cross literally built into a mountain is pretty spectacular. The church is of the Roman Catholic faith, but they welcome all visitors to come and reflect inside or enjoy the views from the deck. Note that parking is limited and there are no public washrooms, so plan to go first thing or just before closing.

Feeding Giraffes at the Wildlife Park

Just 20 minutes outside of town is Out of Africa Wildlife Park – an engaging and up close experience with Lions, Tigers, and Bears. This place is a rescue, and they’re all about conservation and education. They are not trained and don’t perform tricks, but they do love to play with their caretakers due to their special bond. It’s a lot of fun to see! Bring lots of sunscreen and water – there’s not much shade.

What Else is Close By?

Mather Point look out at the Grand Canyon (it’s the safest.)

If that doesn’t sound like enough to keep you entertained, within a 2-3 hour drive of Sedona is a ton of other experiences.

Williams is a 1.5 hours a way and is a popular Route 66 town, and they offer lots of cowboy fun for families. Another hour past that is the Grand Canyon, where you can spend anywhere from a few hours to days visiting.

Cruising Lake Powell

Wupatki National Monument is on the way to Monument Valley, as is Lake Powell, where you can take a scenic boat tour. Antelope Slot Canyon is popular with photography buffs, but not that you must book a tour to have access to the caverns.

Phoenix is approximately two hours South and has many of it’s own adventurous opportunities. Four hours East is Vegas and the Hoover Dam/Lake Mead area.

As you can see, you won’t be short on things to do, but I highly suggest making Sedona your base for exploration. And who wouldn’t want to enjoy their morning coffee with a view of the Red Rocks?


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