Travelers know that when you visit popular attractions or towns, there will be crowds, there will be lines, and often, there will be elevated prices. However, you can still enjoy a vacation to a popular destination by exploring the activities, attractions, and restaurants the locals all know, love, and populate, creating a vacation experience that shines brighter than all others. This insider’s guide to Sedona is one we at Sedona.Org put a lot of time, thought, and research into and will help you fill your vacation hours with fun and excitement while also introducing you to the comforts and luxuries that come standard in all our Sedona sanctuaries.

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Day 1: Arizona Adventures Await

First, let us welcome you to Grand Canyon State, home of sunshine, red rocks, and of course, the Grand Canyon, which, coincidentally, is just 113 miles away from your Sedona.Org Arizona abode! On this first full day in town, travelers are sure to be excited to begin their new adventures, but first, breakfast. Your choices are plentiful in Sedona, starting with preparing something in the luxuriously appointed kitchens, filled with high-end appliances and a cheerful vibe. But for those that may have forgotten to stock up on some essential food items upon arrival, a visit to Miley’s Café, 7000 AZ-179, should be your first stop of the day. Offering a flavorful blend of American and Mexican favorites, this café is where the locals go to eat well and savor beautiful mornings on their patio and is open from 6:30 AM until 2 PM Tuesday through Saturday.
 

A Hike to Remember

With nearly 300 days of sunshine and because the temperatures are quite a bit cooler up north than in the central parts of Arizona, we try to play outside every chance we get, which means we do a LOT of hiking. However, tourists are of like mind, and the most popular trails will get crowded and less serene during the height of tourist season—but don’t let that stop you. The most popular trails do bring you to some of the most beautiful spots in Sedona, (Bell Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and the Fay Canyon Trail, to mention a few) but you may want to check out the Roundabout Trail. Meandering through an isolated section of west Sedona, most travelers haven’t quite discovered this part of paradise yet, giving the hikers that have the feeling of being the only ones in the world. Stretching out about 2 miles in a loop, spring hikers may find themselves in an enchanted garden, as wildflowers bloom profusely after the typically wet winters. Well-marked and easy to find, simply drive West from the Y intersection State Routes 179 & 89A on 89A for about 4.2 miles, turning right on Cultural Park Place.

 

Secret Adventures

For those who may have grown up in farm country, you already know the joys of picking wild raspberries, blackberries, and the occasional strawberry while roaming the pastures and forests of your hometown. What most people don’t know, however, is the Oak Creek area is one of our favorite places to pick blackberries in the last months of summer. Juicy, ripe, and bursting with flavor, one of our favorite places to pick can be found just north of Slide Rock, near the house with the big letter R on the gate. We aren’t going into the house on this Sedona travel guide, however, but are taking the trail that is to the left of that gate, leading explorers to the creek where the blackberries are the most abundant. Want to enjoy blackberries without all the work of picking them? This is the time of year when many local restaurants offer blackberry pie and cobbler, including Layla’s Bakery Café, located at 3190 W State Route 89A. Also serving a limited lunch menu, it may be the perfect midday break for tired adventurers.
 

Day 2: So Much More to Explore

Chances are your first evening at home with Sedona.Org consisted of pizza ordered from Hideaway House and an early bedtime after the hike and the blackberry picking. And now that you have a good night’s sleep (Our beds are so comfortable!), it is time to head out again, starting with breakfast at the Coffee Pot Restaurant. Located at 2050 W State Route 89A, if you have followed Sedona.Org for any amount of time, you may have noticed that we recommend this restaurant a LOT! Offering an extensive menu in surroundings that remind us it is the food that is the star of this show, you just can’t beat the downhome goodness of a Coffee Pot Restaurant breakfast, especially when your plate is filled with one of their 101 omelets!

 

Sedona International Film Festival, February/March

The Sedona International Film Festival celebrates 30 years in February/March 2024, and this year’s celebration promises to be bigger and better than ever before, perhaps giving Sundance a run for its money! This 9-day festival is jam packed with activities and events, including the showing of over 140 films, workshops, competitions, and the possibility of rubbing shoulders with some of your favorite celebrities; we love how the big superstars are discovering the beauty of independent films and Sedona is practically teeming with well-known faces during festival time, making it the perfect activity for travelers who love the magic of movies.
 

Didn’t Make It in Time for the Film Festival?

It can be sad if the event you really wanted to see just wasn’t in your schedule, but this can also provide the perfect opportunity to drown your sorrows in some local wine! The northern part of Arizona is fast becoming competition for Napa Valley, without all the elevated prices, and Sedona is actually home to one of our favorite wineries, Winery 1912, 320 AZ-89A #3. This local winery is a hotspot for tourists and residents alike, never appearing too busy and providing absolutely stunning views of the red rocks, so be sure to drop in during some of your spare moment and sip your way to serenity. Want to take your sipping and sampling to the next level? Dog-friendly Wine Tours of Sedona, while not a hidden gem, offers a tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail and lets you bring your most loyal traveling partners along for the ride!

 

After the Sun Sets

In the summer, temps can become a bit toasty, making us more than ready for the night, and when you are looking for a dining/drinking experience that is strictly local, just point your rental car in the direction of the Sundowner. Located at 37 Navajo Drive, there is nothing fancy about this local’s only establishment, but the food is the stuff dreams are made of. Burgers that are twice the size of your hand, plates of crispy fried chicken, and fish tacos they call appetizers but can be an entire meal for those with smaller appetites. Open from 10 AM until 11 PM Monday through Saturday and 11 AM until 8 PM on Sundays, Sundowner will make your taste buds weep tears of joy.
 

Day 3: Finding Joy in the Red Rocks

There is nothing we love more than waking up to another sunny day in Sedona, and as you settle into the rhythm of the Southwest, you will find yourself feeling the same way. Day three looms ahead, filled with possibilities, magic, and possibly some more relaxation and fun at home in your Sedona.Org sanctuary. This may be the day you choose to explore the amenities we offer in our sumptuous properties, perhaps lazing around the pool, soaking in the hot tub, or playing pool in the properties that offer game rooms. By now you have probably made your way to the local grocery stores, stocking your shelves with boxes of cereal, your refrigerator with milk, beer, and eggs (the necessities), and if the property you rented offers a wine chiller, we are sure you purchased a few bottles of your favorite during your wine tour. Sleep late on day three and find joy in scrambling eggs on name brand ranges. There’s no rush for you to go anywhere today, and if midafternoon finds you napping on plush sofas in our living rooms, all the better! Today there are no rules, just a plethora of opportunities for relaxing and reveling in the magic that is Sedona and the comforts that are a standard amenity in our Sedona.Org homes.
 

Ready for a Night Out?

After spending the day relaxing, you may be experiencing a bit of cabin fever, and although Sedona is by no means considered a party town, there are a few spots that you might want to explore. Sound Bites Grill, 101 N State Route 89A, offers live music every night from Wednesday through Sunday. They offer a full menu made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. (Sorry, the lobster & crab nachos are NOT locally sourced; the closest ocean is hundreds of miles away from us, but it is certainly worth ordering nonetheless!) As with many restaurants and even bars, Sound Bites closes at 9 PM, allowing visitors to enjoy an early evening and perhaps wake up early for the sunrise in the morning.

 

Something Extra

So far, everything we have mentioned is located in Sedona proper, but what about the fun things you can experience in nearby towns? The Verde Valley Wine Trail, mentioned earlier, takes visitors on a wine tasting tour through outlying towns, all of which may offer something extra to enjoy during your visit. Below we have mentioned some of the top attractions or activities in a few of those towns.
 

Jerome

This former mining town located just 27+ miles outside of Sedona very nearly disappeared until local artists began to move in, revitalizing the potential ghost town. Today, Jerome features shops and galleries in historic buildings and one of the weirdest things you can see is the Sliding Jail. A key attraction on the Jerome History Tour, the jail has slid over 200 feet since construction in 1905 and although it is merely a concrete ruin, it is fun to imagine the bad guys who may have resided within and who knows? Maybe their spirits are still hanging around!

 

Camp Verde

The oldest town in the Verde Valley, Campe Verde’s history is clearly apparent, especially when you visit Montezuma Castle National Monument. Home to the ancient Sinagua peoples, the cliff dwellings were once a vital and thriving community, lasting approximately 300 years from AD 1100 through 1425. Located 27 miles from Sedona, the cliff dwellings are fascinating structures that provide an interesting glimpse into those long-ago days.
 

Clarkdale

Home to the Verde Valley Railroad, Clarkdale is Arizona’s first planned community, created as a company town for the United Verde Copper Company, located just 23 miles away from your Sedona.Org sanctuary. If you do nothing else while visiting Clarkdale, RIDE THAT TRAIN! Offering a stunning tour of the most beautiful parts of the Verde Valley, the railroad offers special events including a Polar Express tour at Christmas that our kids have never missed.

 

Cornville

Despite the name, no corn has ever been grown in Cornville. The name comes from a misinterpretation of a local family, the Cohns. Home to Harmony Acres Ranch, located at 13437 Elizabeth Lane, the farm breeds, sells, and rehomes farm animals often found in petting zoos. Kids love this place for all the animals which are allowed to be petted and adults love the organic veggies sold here as well as the gourmet jams they make and sell.
 

Arizona Adventures for Everyone

Every adventure in Arizona will make you wish you never had to leave, especially as you can come home every night to Sedona.Org during your stay. Our homes offer that feeling of family, of welcoming, and spoil all who reside within. Reserve your favorite escape after reading our guide to Sedona today!

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