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Sedona, Arizona Travel Guide

Sedona Summary


  • Landscape of surreal red rocks visible everywhere throughout town (which means delicious sunsets!)
  • Mild winters averaging highs in the mid-50s
  • First-rate destination for active travelers who want to take in the views while biking, hiking, or horseback riding
  • Vibrant arts community; known for its numerous art galleries and arts and craft shops
  • Easy car rental and drive from Phoenix
  • Shopping: everything from Local Native American stands, to typical touristy shops, to grocery stores
  • Sunshine -- about 300 days of it a year!
  • Clean streets; minimal litter


  • Hot summers -- no, really, they're hot
  • Limited nightlife
  • Rapid construction, causing many to worry it will lose its unspoiled appeal

What It's Like

Sedona is most famous for its stunning red rocks, which are particularly beautiful in the glow of sunrise and sunset, and have formed the backdrop for many a western film. The temperatures here are cooler than other Arizona destinations, thanks to the higher elevation, and Ponderosa Pines surround the city. It's a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with excellent biking, horseback riding, and especially hiking. Some of the most popular hiking spots include Cathedral Rock, Bear Mountain, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Rock.

The stunning desert-meets-forest scenery has, unsurprisingly, attracted many artists, and Sedona has become known for its numerous art galleries and craft shops. The inspiring setting has also drawn a New Age crowd; in the 1980s, the discovery of Sedona's "vortexes" -- concentrations of spiritual energy -- caused alternative medicine peddlers, psychics, and vortex tour companies to make shop here.

Where To Stay

Most visitors to Sedona should expect to drive to see the sites, but those who want to minimize time behind the wheel should consider staying near Uptown Sedona (also known as "Main Street"), a stretch of Highway 89A that's lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Families may want to check out the Village of Oak Creek -- at the southernmost tip of Sedona -- which offers restaurants, shops, hiking trails, and Sedona's only 18-hole public golf course. A number of hotels are located in West Sedona, near the airport (which only small aircraft can use), where most locals do their day-to-day shopping and tourist lodging is evolving.

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