Best Places to Visit in Sedona
Nestled among beautiful red rock mountains, butts, and canyons, Sedona is one of Arizona’s prettiest places. The scenery here is simply breathtaking, with incredible views and hiking trails from every street corner.
The city is also known as a spiritual center with a unique atmosphere that attracts tourists of all interests, especially due to its energy vortex. Attractions range from gorgeous natural areas and scenic driveways to Native American sites, buildings, galleries, and sanctuaries. Many of the best things to do in Sedona are free; including hiking, mountain biking or stargazing. The city is a designated dark sky community.
Tourists often come to Sedona on day trips from Phoenix, but for those with more time, a longer stay is definitely worth it. If you decide to settle in Sedona, you can easily take a day trip to the Grand Canyon or nearby Flagstaff.
Find your way and plan your destination with our list of the Best Places to Visit in Sedona and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Sedona
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Sedona:
1. Bell Rock
One of the main natural attractions around Sedona is the aptly named Bell Rock. Located south of Sedona in Oak Creek Village, this bell formation along the Red Rock Scenic Byway is one of the first places you come to when you approach Sedona from the south.
This is a popular stop for tourists, just off the road and easily accessible. You can park and take a quick look, walk up to it, take a short and easy walk by the bell, or ride it easily if you take a mountain bike with you.
You can also climb a short distance over the rock, while the trail takes you to the edge of the rock. Behind Bell Rock is Courthouse Butte, another famous attraction and walking tour.
2. Boynton Canyon
About 8 miles west of downtown Sedona, Boynton Canyon is another special place with lots of reasons to visit. The number one reason people come to Boynton Canyon is to hike in Boynton Canyon. It’s a 6.1-mile in and out path under a magnificent canyon wall that winds through diverse vegetation, including large pines at the far end.
Another reason people visit the area is the whirlpool on the short side ledge near the start of the Boynton Canyon Trail. This is one of the more accessible eddies and does not require climbing or walking along the edge of a cliff to get there. The vortex is called the stabilizing vortex and sits on a saddle between two rock towers.
If you’re not interested in hiking or a hot tub, you can come and see some of Sedona’s best views. The luxury Enchantment resort is a great place to dine or even spend a few nights.
The resort has a gated entrance, but they welcome guests who don’t live here and just want to dine at a great restaurant. Tii Gavo and View 180 restaurants provide world-class dining experiences for casual or luxury experiences. You can sit inside and enjoy the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows, or you can enjoy the warm sun outside and watch the red rocks outside.
3. Grand Canyon Day Tour
Drive 2.5 hours from Sedona to one of America’s most famous and breathtaking attractions. From Sedona, head to Flagstaff via the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon. From here you can take a detour at Williams or follow Hwy 180 to the Grand Canyon, passing the often snow-capped Humphreys Peak. From Sedona to the Grand Canyon, there are many options.
Spend the day exploring the canyon side attractions or take a scenic flight over and into the canyon. To complete the loop, take Rim Road east from Hwy 64 to Cameron and return via Hwy 89. This will give you the best route overall and give you some great views east of the canyon, including views of the small canyon of the Colorado River.
If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the scenery than drive and watch the road, the Ultimate Grand Canyon Tour from Sedona or Flagstaff is a great way to visit this amazing site. In addition to the wonderful drive along the rim of the Grand Canyon, the tour also stops at a trading post at the Upatki Ruins, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and the Navajo Reservation.
4. Slide Rock State Park
Slippery Rock State Park is located on Route 89A in Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona. While most people like to come here on warm days to play by the river, the park is both a historic site and a natural attraction.
At this point, Oak Creek flows over flat rocks over a series of small waterfalls, creating a natural slide and water park. On warm days, the park is packed with people sliding off the rocks and swimming in the natural pools. It looks fun, but the rocks are hard and you can get some swelling and bruising if you’re not careful.
The parkland was once a large apple farm owned by Frank L. Pendley. He succeeded in designing an interesting and successful irrigation system for growing apples. The original farmhouse can still be seen.
Address: 6871 North Highway 89A, Sedona, Arizona
Official website: https://azstateparks.com/slide-rock/
5. Palatki Ruins
The Palatki site is a well preserved site and is one of the largest Sinagua villages in the area. Palatki was inhabited by Sinagua some 800 years ago, but rock art shows that cultures in the area used it 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.
There are two trails at the Palatki Heritage site: one trail leads visitors to the Sinagua cliff dwelling, and the other trail leads to a rock art hollow. It is best to call ahead to make an appointment. A volunteer guide will take you around the site and explain its history and significance.
A short drive from here, but in the same neighborhood, is the Honanki Cliff Residences. Occupied between 1130 and 1280 AD, the site originally contained about 60 rooms and an unknown number of hieroglyphs. These cliff dwellings are excellent examples of Sinaguan architecture and rock art. This shrine is well preserved and a trail has been added for better viewing.
Official website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=55368&actid=119
6. Uptown Sedona
Uptown Sedona is an old town with boutiques, tourist shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. The area runs along Highway 89A, starting at the end of Highway 179. If you’re heading to Oak Creek Canyon and Flagstaff, you’ll drive straight through Uptown Sedona.
Facilities here range from jewelery and craft shops to crystal vendors, and from casual cafeteria-style restaurants to fine dining. This is also the starting point of the jeep tour. Parking here can be quite expensive, especially on weekends, but there is usually a garage where you can find parking.
This is a convenient location if you plan to live in Sedona. If you base yourself at a hotel in a residential area, you can walk to dinner, walk to Tlaquepaque to browse the galleries, shops and more restaurants, or sign up for one of the various tours that start off the main street. Two of the best hotels in the area are the upscale hillside L’Auberge de Sedona and the more mid-range Arabella Hotel Sedona.
7. Hiking Trails
One of the best ways to explore the natural beauty around Sedona is to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails. Most of the hikes are shorter than three miles and can be easily done in just a few hours, but they offer some of the most stunning views in the area. Longer, more challenging hikes to peaks and canyons can also be found around Sedona.
Canyon Hikes offers stunning views and easy hikes with huge orange cliff walls surrounding you. Alternatively, you can climb to the top of the mountain or a hill to enjoy the view. Some of the most popular hikes are Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, and Bell Rock. These are common recommendations from tourist information offices, but if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy local favorites, check out our article on the best hikes in Sedona.
8. Jeep Tour
Jeep tours are one of the most popular things to do in Sedona. These tours allow you to see places you can’t go without an all-terrain vehicle and pass some points you think you can’t reach with a jeep.
The Sedona Outback Trail Jeep Adventure is a two-hour off-road adventure across rough terrain and past some of the area’s key rock formations. These tours take place in an open-air jeep, which is a Sedona attraction in itself. Get ready for a bumpy ride. The driver is knowledgeable and willing to share the local history and geology of the area.
9. Mountain Biking Trails
Sedona is one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country. These trails are excellent, have something for all ability levels and are perfect for everyone from families to advanced riders. You can mountain bike here in Sedona year-round, except for a few snowy days here in the winter.
The trail winds through stunning mountain scenery, dirt, and smooth rocky areas. Some of these trails pass through interesting places such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Doe Mesa. Difficulty levels range from easy to extreme, but there really is something for everyone.
Local bike shops offer repairs, bike rentals, information and maps. One of the best places in Thunder Mountain Bikes in West Sedona. The trails are well marked and graded on the map by difficulty. The Sedona Mountain Bike Trails Map is a must-have item before you go.
Be sure to bring your camera – these trails have some of the best photo spots in the entire region. For more on these trails, see our list of the best mountain bike trails in Sedona.
One of Sedona’s most unique attractions is the jacuzzi located in its natural location in the area. what is a vortex? These are said to be energy centers on Earth that inspire healing, self-awareness, and spirituality.
Swirls have different features. Some are positive vortices, negative vortices, or equilibrium vortices, and some have different names such as electric vortices, magnetic eddies, or combined eddies.
Some of the most common and accessible energy eddies are in Boynton Canyon, near the beginning of the Boynton Canyon Hike and Charm Resort; At Mesa Airport, near the roadside observation decks; and at Cathedral Rock.
Boynton Canyon and Mesa Airport are two of the most accessible, both located a short distance from the parking lot. Cathedral Rock requires a short but intense hike. However, if you like, the Cathedral Rock walk is one of the best hikes in Sedona.
If you want to learn more about the Vortex and be taken to some stops, you can sign up for Jeep’s Sedona Vortex Tour. During these 2.5-hour tours, your guide will point out natural features and explain the history and importance of the hot tubs.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Sedona. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Sedona, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.