Monday, April 15, 2024

25+ Unique Things To Do in Sedona, Arizona – TheBlogTrends

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Sedona is so much more than beautiful red rock formations. Nestled amidst the canyons and vortexes of Arizona, this area has captivated me with its energy, scenery, adventures, art, and hospitality. Through many soul-stirring travels, I’ve discovered the true magic of Sedona lies in the unexpected, hidden gems waiting to be uncovered by curious travelers.

In this guide filled with my personal favorites, you’ll find everything from ancient Native American sites, challenging trails offering stunning views, rejuvenating spa treatments, stargazing spots away from light pollution, cooking classes using locally sourced ingredients, and so much more. I’ve also included tips on the best times to visit, how to respectfully enjoy the nature here, and when you may want to book things in advance, ensuring an experience of affordable luxury travel.

My wish is that you feel enchanted by this magical land that has captured my heart. May your travels here awaken your spirit of adventure while deepening your connection with nature and yourself.

Connecting with Sedona’s Healing Vortex Energy

The swirling vortexes around Sedona are believed to possess healing and balancing energies. Hiking to them has been profound for me whether I come with an intention or am simply present in the moment. Each has its own uniqueness and personality that you’ll discover.

Cathedral Rock Vortex

With its iconic towering spires viewable from many spots in Sedona, Cathedral Rock has a potent energy known for being both grounding yet uplifting.

My suggestion: Hike the beautiful Cathedral Rock Trail to reach the saddle between the soaring towers for the most intense vortex experience. Be prepared for some steep inclines and high elevation. Bring plenty of water. The payoff is worth it – you’ll feel refreshed and rebalanced.

Bell Rock Vortex

Resembling the shape that gives it its name, Bell Rock emanates a vibrant, creative energy thanks to its high concentration of iron.

My suggestion: Walk the easy Bell Rock Pathway that encircles the base while keeping an eye out for climbers. Making your way onto the formation itself is prohibited, but you can still absorb the uplifting vortex energy from below.

Boynton Canyon Vortex

There’s a stillness and harmony that envelops you in the pink-hued Boynton Canyon, home to a powerful, feminine vortex connected to Mother Earth.

My suggestion: Hike the Boynton Canyon Trail, venturing as far as the time and abilities of your group allow. Even a shorter portion will have you feeling nurtured by the nature surrounding you. Tip: Go earlier to avoid crowds.

Airport Mesa Vortex

I recommend Airport Mesa for first-time vortex hunters thanks to the short, easy hike to the top and 360 views of the beautiful landscape that put you in just the right headspace. The energy here tends to be gentle and soothing.

My suggestion: Pack a meditative lunch or journal and find a quiet spot to sit among the juniper and sage taking in the red rocks while soaking up the good vibes. Sunrise and sunset are especially magical.

In addition to the main four, Sedona has other vortexes like Kachina Woman, Chimney Rock, and Thunder Mountain. Wherever you feel drawn, trust your intuition. Vortex or not – the hikes here are guaranteed to lift your spirits, making it an ideal destination for travel on a budget.

Venturing Off the Beaten Path

For travelers like myself craving more adventure, Sedona gladly delivers with ancient Native American dwellings, challenging trails, and stunning natural sights. Add these to your itinerary for a trip you won’t soon forget!

Palatki Heritage Site

History comes alive at the well-preserved Palatki cliff dwellings tucked into the red rocks about 45 minutes from Sedona. Pueblo Native Americans called the Sinagua lived here, using the natural caves as shelter. Guided tours which require advance booking offer visitors fascinating insight into these ancestral people’s lives and culture as well as the theories around their mysterious disappearance.

Doe Mountain Trail

Rated difficult, the hike up Doe Mountain awards fit adventurers like myself with outstanding 360 degree views of the Sedona area. Along the way you’ll scramble over rocks and have the opportunity to spot wildlife like the trail’s namesake as well as javelinas. Topping out at over 7000 feet keeps temps cool.

Pro Tip: Hike early and carry enough water for this 5 hour trek. Catching sunrise from the summit with the morning light hitting the red rocks is bucket list worthy!

Crescent Moon Picnic Site

After vigorous hikes, I enjoy retreating to this less visited, peaceful haven called Crescent Moon. Oak Creek’s soothing sounds set the mood for a refreshing swim or a picnic lunch on the secluded beach area before a well-deserved siesta underneath the shade trees. Stick around for the sunset if you can.

Schnebly Hill Scenic Road

For awesome canyon views accessible by vehicle, take the scenic route down Schnebly Hill Road. The gravel road winds through portions of the Coconino National Forest passing overlooks and trailheads. Don’t miss the brilliant red sandstone Coffee Pot Rock – arguably one of the most iconic formations in Sedona, perfect for exploring in cheap cities.

Honanki Heritage Site

History buffs will marvel at the intact Honanki ruin tucked into a cliffside overlooking a valley. Like Palatki, these well-preserved dwellings were inhabited by the Sinagua people. Guided tours give you a glimpse into the past as you walk paths once used by ancestral Puebloan tribes.

Recharging Your Batteries Sedona Style

With so much to do in this outdoor paradise, remembering to pamper yourself is key. Sedona offers world-class spas and retreats that can replenish your mind, body and soul in between adventures.

Sedona New Day Spa

After hiking and vortex channeling, my aching muscles sing praises for the Sedona New Day Spa’s therapeutic massages and ayurvedic treatments. Their friendly staff and zen decor help set the mood for total relaxation.

Suggestion: Book their signature Mystical Healing Package which includes a massage, facial, body treatment and aromatic foot cleansing ritual. Feel rejuvenated in no time!

A Spa for You

For affordable luxury, I can’t recommend A Spa 4 You enough, especially their Euphoria Package which covers you from head to toe in rejuvenating treatments. Their hydrotherapy tub, steam rooms and saunas help release toxins while their massages boost circulation. The perfect pre-hike conditioning!

Suggestion: Come early to enjoy the relaxation room’s teas while you wait.

El Portal Sedona Hotel

Should you decide to check-in to relaxation mode completely, look no further than the luxurious El Portal Hotel set alongside Oak Creek and red rock views. Their Zen-like rooms with soaking tubs and private patios set the tone.

Suggestion: Indulge in one of their Mystical Healing Arts packages that incorporates massage, sound healing, and guided meditation. You’ll feel incredible!

Recharging in Sedona is all about realignment – nourishing your physical essence while connecting to your inner wisdom and the nature around you. However you choose to spend your self-care days, know you’re worth it!

Capturing Sedona’s Artistic Spirit

Beyond the gorgeous landscape, the arts scene throughout Sedona is truly vibrant and varied. As a creative soul, discovering the galleries, workshops, and events here has been a highlight. When you visit, make sure to pencil in some time to nurture your inner artist!

Sedona Arts Center

No visit is complete without stopping into the Sedona Arts Center located right in the heart of Uptown. Here you’ll find galleries, exhibitions, classes for every skill level, and interesting cultural events. Don’t miss First Friday when the galleries stay open late.

Suggestion: Check out one of their glass fusing or jewelry making workshops. The talented instructors walk you through creating a beautiful keepsake pendant or ornament step-by-step to take home.

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

Meander cobblestone walkways through this lovely Mexican-style plaza bustling with artisan galleries, studios, shops and restaurants. Watch glassblowers and potters practice their craft. Grab lunch on one of the patios then burn it off exploring everything from traditional Native works to contemporary, whimsical pieces.

Suggestion: Stop at the Rowe Gallery specializing in limited edition Southwestern landscapes.

Sedona Heritage Museum

This museum helped deepen my understanding of the area’s fascinating history and peoples. Well-curated exhibits cover everything from the early indigenous inhabitants like the Sinagua to the pioneers, painters, filmmakers and others influenced by the area’s magic. You’ll leave wanting to learn even more!

Local Art Markets

Part of the fun is discovering local talents like the jewelry makers, painters, potters and clothing designers that set up booths at area art markets and festivals.

Suggestion: Check out the Uptown Saturday market or the artisan market at Hozoni Indian Village off Hwy 179 for authentic Native crafts.

Hands-on Art Workshops

Consider unleashing your inner artist by rolling up your sleeves in one of the many hands-on art workshops offered in Sedona. You’ll find painting, jewelry-making, clay workshops and more for all levels. It’s fun, you get to take home a unique souvenir, and the teachers are wonderful about answering questions.

Some top-rated ones I recommend:

  • Silver Smithing / Jewelry Workshop with a glass of wine in hand at Sedona Arts Studio
  • PaintNite classes held at wineries and breweries where you can sip while you paint
  • Sedona Pottery – make functional pieces like mugs, bowls, vases on the wheel

However you choose to tap into the creative energy here, it’s sure to stir your soul and have you floating on inspiration!

Marveling Under Sedona’s Starry Skies

With little light pollution, the night sky viewing simply can’t be beat in Sedona. During my trips, connecting with the cosmos whether by guided stargazing tour or solo has always brought feelings of magic and child-like wonder.

Guided Stargazing Tours

For newbies or folks wanting to nerd out about the mysteries above, I wholeheartedly recommend booking a guided stargazing tour. Knowledgeable astronomers will not only point out favorite sights like the Milky Way, various constellations, planets and sometimes even satellites whizzing by. They also bring high powered telescopes for closer viewing.

Pro Tip: Dress in layers and don’t forget the blankets! Nighttime desert temps can drop. Most tours last 2 hours giving you time to ask questions.

DIY Dark-Sky Viewing

If you consider yourself a night sky fanatic like myself or simply want a more budget DIY stargazing experience, just pull up a sky map app on your phone, grab a flashlight (red light preserves night vision better), and head to one of Sedona’s dark sky viewing spots when skies are clear.

Some prime areas I suggest:

  • Oak Creek’s Red Rock Crossing – Gorgeous night photo ops using the rock formations and creek as foreground with starry skies twinkling above
  • Schnebly Hill Vista area– Sweeping views over Sedona while spotting constellations
  • Doe Mountain Trailhead – At the top, 360o views make star and planet identification easier

Cosmic Events

Timing my visits with moon cycles and meteor showers has led to exceptional experiences. Connecting mind, body and soul under the expansive night skies seems to come easier for me whether meditating, trying night yoga, or joining a medicine wheel ceremony.

Suggestion: Research dates for the August Perseids or December Geminids then watch in wonder as these spectacular light shows streak across the heavens.

Sunrise Hikes

Early risers are rewarded when day breaks over the sandstone formations. As the skies lighten, I love watching the red rocks come alive with color. Endorphins flow faster pushing me higher up trails like the Heart of Sedona or Devil’s Bridge for grand vistas. What a glorious way to start the day!

However you choose to look skyward, gazing at the stars from Sedona is sure to fill you with that special feeling of being part of something bigger.

Indulging in Sedona’s Farm-Fresh Deliciousness

Beyond the visual feast, preparing my palate for the flavors of Sedona has become my favorite part of the whole travel experience. Farmers markets, food tours, acclaimed restaurants, even cooking classes mean I get to savor it long after I return home.

Al Fresco Dining with a View

For ambiance, excellent service and memorable cuisine, 82-year old classic Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill takes the cake! Arrive before sunset to enjoy a prickly pear margarita on the patio before feasting on tender carne asada or honey chipotle salmon. Just save room for the tres leches cake. Worth every penny!

More affordable yet equally gorgeous views over Oak Creek await at The Hideaway House. Their breakfast BLT Benedict became an instant favorite paired perfectly with a bloody mary while I soak up the scenery from the back deck.

Insider Tip: Make reservations for outdoor dining and sunset views at most nicer restaurants well in advance. You won’t regret it!

Sedona Certified Farmers Market

I love starting Saturdays at the open-air farmers market picking up fresh local fruits and veggies, locally made jams and honey butter, crusty artisan breads, and Amish friendship bread starter to take home. Much of Sedona’s best cuisine starts here.

Suggestion: Come hungry! Food trucks onsite dish up everything from juicy Cuban sandwiches to vegetarian curries that you can enjoy at the picnic tables.

Food & Wine Tasting Tours

Combining tastings at restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries with behind-the-scenes kitchen tours, these excursions uncover the culinary soul of the region. I’ve made new foodie friends plus discovered places I’d never wander into on my own but so glad I did!

Suggestion: Check sites like SedonaFoodTours.com for public and private options.

Hands-On Southwestern Cooking Classes

Taking a class at a top restaurant like L’Auberge’s Cress on Oak Creek has taught me how to recreate some of the cuisine I enjoy here at home. Other venues like Elote Cafe or the Sedona Culinary Institute also offer small, hands-on classes focused on utilizing the Southwest’s indigenous ingredients.

Suggestion: Book a class early into your stay to better enjoy rest of visit or dine at same restaurant later to order dishes you learned to make!

Picnics at Red Rock State Park

Pack procured goodies from the aforementioned places into a picnic basket along with a bottle of wine, blanket, and utensils. Crossing the stone bridge in stunning Red Rock State Park toward Oak Creek to your perfect picnic spot under the cottonwood trees is a simple, romantic way to enjoy Sedona’s tastes al fresco.

Trust me, with so much yummy goodness, you’ll never have a bad meal here. Just come hungry and leave happy!

Leona D. Hansard
Leona D. Hansard
Leona D. Hansard is not just a travel writer; she's a storyteller weaving adventures through her words. With a passport in one hand and a pen in the other, Leona explores the world, capturing the essence of each destination with vivid descriptions and immersive narratives. Her passion for travel is matched only by her love for discovering hidden gems and sharing them with fellow wanderers

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