As I’m sure you’ve gathered by the name of the blog, I am a beach girl through and through. Nine times out of ten I’m opting for a vacation that warrants a book and a beer, on a beach. That said, the pandemic (and lack of international travel) has left me itching to explore more of the continental United States. I have a small, but significant, list of places within the states that I never knew I needed to see. And— you guessed it— Sedona, Arizona was one of them.
I absolutely loved Scottsdale, and have to admit that I thought Sedona would be a similar vibe. It wasn’t, but it was almost better. Sedona is hands down one of the most beautiful places I have seen. My best friend (number one travel companion) and I said numerous times each day, “I can’t get over this view, it never gets old.” And we truly meant it. There’s something about the way the sun hits the red rocks that is so damn magical. Regardless of where you turn, or where you look, the views are breathtaking.
Now, the town itself is another story. It’s very hippy dippy (not to be confused with hipster). Everyone is pretty casual at all times because they’re either a local, headed on a hike, or coming back from a hike— so don’t go to Sedona in the hopes of dusting off your best vacation dress. You’ve been warned.
Literally all we did was hike, eat, drink, sleep, repeat— and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Enchantment Resort — Two of my all-time favorite resorts that I’ve stayed at in my (almost) 31 years are both in Arizona. One is the Scott in Scottsdale, and the other is the Enchantment Resort. Everything about Enchantment is cute, and boujee, and wonderful. Their property is smack-dab in the middle of the mountain, so you get incredible views no matter where you are (but especially from the pool). 100 out of 10 would recommend if you can swing the steep prices.
Note: the one con is that Enchantment is about 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of uptown, so it’s a bit of a trek if you’re planning dinner or drinks off-site.
Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa — On the same coin, the number one selling point for the Sedona Rouge hotel is that it’s extremely close to everything in uptown. Also, it’s really affordable. It’s about a fifth of the cost of Enchantment Resort, and still cute in its own way with lots of beautiful tiles, lawn games, and fire pits.
We stayed here for two nights, did everything we needed to do near town, and then stayed at Enchantment for our last night. Once we got to Enchantment we didn’t want to leave until check out, so we didn’t.
Amara Resort — We didn’t stop here, but this hotel looked like a good option too. It’s a little more trendy (which I love), and is nestled right in the middle of uptown which is super convenient. It’s worth checking out if you’re planning a trip.
Bell Rock Trail — This definitely falls into the walk (not hike) category as it’s a mostly flat trail, but still worth a trip. Most of the hikes in Sedona can be done within two hours, so we did the Bell Rock trail as a “warm-up” to our real hike. It’s easy enough to do with less active middle-aged parents, or kids.
Cathedral Rock — Wow wow wow. We were underprepared, but overly impressed by this hike. It’s essentially all rock, so you aren’t getting much shade or greenery along the way (which could be rough in the warmer months), but the views are stunning. If you decide to go to the end of the trail (top of the mountain) be prepared to rock climb and get on all fours at some parts. My knee is still hurt from the impact on the way down, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Keep your eyes peeled for Vortex markings!
Devil’s Bridge — Unlike Cathedral Rock, the Devil’s Bridge hike is more lush and shaded by trees. It feels like you’re in a more forest-y situation without compromising views of the red rocks, which was a nice change of scenery. I would say that this hike is less intense than Cathedral Rock, but you’ll still break a sweat. Go early so that the line for the photo op (out on the “bridge”) isn’t obnoxiously long.
Pro tip: do not park illegally. We thought it would be fine, since there were loads of other cars doing it, but got back to our car just as they were hooking it up to the tow truck. Nearly $300 later and we got them to release the car without towing it, but they said they tow about 15 cars a day— beware.
Chapel of the Holy Cross — This is quick, and can be done on your way to or from the Cathedral Rock hike, but it’s probably one of the more beautiful tourist attractions that I’ve seen. My best friend and I are both catholic, so it was fun to go into the chapel and see the views. If you feel inclined, you can pay to light a candle and say a prayer before you go.
Trails near Enchantment — If you stay at the Enchantment Resort, which you absolutely should, there are a handful of trails and hikes just outside of the property that are easy to access. We explored the trails briefly (because we wanted a cocktail), but not enough to have any real specific recommendations.
Pink Jeep tour — While we didn’t do this, we saw them literally everywhere. The cool thing about the Jeep tours is that they can drive you to places you might not be able to get to by foot.
The spa — We didn’t indulge in a spa treatment, simply because we didn’t have enough time, but the friends we made at the resort had lovely things to say about it.
Visit a psychic — It has been on our bucket-list for a couple of years now to see a psychic together, and I’m happy to report that we finally did it. There is a psychic on nearly every corner in Sedona— when in Rome, right?
Walk around uptown or Tlaquepaque — Every other storefront is a candle-making studio or a healing crystal haven. It was a fun vibe and worth checking out, but I felt a lot less inclined to shop around than I would have in Hawaii or New York.
Mariposa — I will recommend this place to anyone who will listen until I am blue in the face. The food was impeccable, but the views were better. You absolutely have to go here for sunset.
Elote — This was probably the most highly recommended and sought after restaurant in Sedona. Their reservation list was booked weeks out, so plan ahead if you want to check it out (which you should).
Hideaway House — We stopped by Hideaway House for lunch after we checked in to our first hotel. It’s a very casual, family-owned restaurant, but highly recommend grabbing a locally-brewed beer and hand-crafted pizza on their outdoor deck.
Che Ah Chi — Che Ah Chi is the fancier restaurant located at the Enchantment hotel— we only ate here for breakfast, but it was worth noting.
Tii Gavo — Tii Gavo is a small rooftop lounge at Enchantment with fire pits, a Mexican-style menu, astonishing views, and yummy margaritas. Highly recommend the southwest chopped salad and skinny spicy margarita during the day, and their espresso martini once the sun goes down.
We truly didn’t have one bad meal in Sedona, so you can’t go wrong wherever you decide to eat.