Famous for its pine forests and red-rock buttes, the city of Sedona, Arizona is a stunning desert town. After settling into your Sedona vacation rental, step into the fun and easygoing lifestyle of a small-town village atmosphere. Enjoy a mild four-season climate, delve into Sedona’s rich cultural history, and explore the pristine national forest and colorful rock formations that abound. Check out other popular activities in the area.
1. Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
Built to resemble a traditional Mexican plaza, this delightful outdoor shopping center features stucco-walled buildings that house art galleries, shops brimming with modern art and glassware, and restaurants such as the relaxing Secret Garden Cafe and the robust Oak Creek Brewery and Grill.
2. Palatki Heritage Site
Once home to the Hopi tribe, these ancient cliff dwellings are the largest in the area. One quarter-mile trail leads you directly to the Sinagua cliff dwellings for interior exploration, while another positions you a distance away for photographer-friendly, panoramic views of the dwellings. From a third trail, you can explore the pictographs.
3. Red Rock State Park
This state park is home to Cathedral Rock, one of Arizona’s best-known landmarks and attractions. This large nature preserve is located just 10 miles southwest from Sedona’s “Y” — the point where routes 89A and 179 meet — and provides spectacular scenic views along Oak Creek, a great place for a picnic and swim to cool down. Stop at the Visitor Center for guided nature walks that are conducted during the day and under the moon.
4. Chapel of the Holy Cross
This stunning church, located less than four miles south of Sedona’s “Y,” was designed by a student of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s. Protruding boldly from a red rock formation, this peaceful retreat features a giant cross that melds into the stained-glass windows that overlook the Verde Valley.
5. Verde Valley Wine Trail
Take a break from hiking on a self-guided tour that takes you to four popular vineyards — Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards, and Javelina Leap Vineyard. You can tour the grounds of each and sample a diverse selection of locally-made wines.
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6. Slide Rock State Park
The fertile land on which this state park rests was once filled with fragrant apple orchards. You can explore the old abandoned homestead that sidled up to the slippery creek bed that now acts as a water slide, a wonderful place to cool down on a hot day. Cruise down the creek on a tube, or soak up some rays on the shores of numerous natural swimming pools.
7. Blazin’ M Ranch Western Dinner
Experience the fun of the “Wild West” at the Blazin’ M Ranch as you mingle with living history characters, explore the mining camp, jostle on a wagon ride, and rope a mechanical horse. Before the dinner bell rings, be sure to view the petroglyphs, browse through an Indian village, and try your hand at the shooting gallery.
8. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Tribes from many areas gathered in this area to perform rituals or just meet-and-greet. Over 1,000 years ago, the Sinagua inhabited the 60-room cliff dwelling and utilized the sophisticated dry-land farming techniques that are still in evidence today.
9. Sedona Offroad Adventures
Rent a Hummer, climb behind the wheel, and navigate extreme terrain with an experienced professional driver riding shotgun. For a more sedate adventure, join a 4-wheel tour across the scenic High Desert where old westerns were filmed, and enjoy the sights along the Chuck Wagon Trail in Coyote Canyon. Adrenaline junkies rave about the chopper/hummer combo tour that hovers over ancient dwellings and areas unreachable by land, then lands to pick up a Hummer for a hair-raising ride across a primitive trail once used by stagecoaches.
10. 1st Friday in the Galleries
Enjoy an Arts Weekend in Sedona which has quickly become a hub for established and hopeful artists. Dubbed the “New West Enclave” by the venerable New York Times, Sedona has grown by leaps and bounds into a world-class destination for art lovers.
11. Verde Adventures
The Verde River has 10 public access points, ideal for boating, fishing, birding, and tubing. Verde Adventures introduces you to High Desert magic with a variety of river trips. While partaking in Tubing Madness or the world famous Water to Wine Tour, you also learn a great deal about the area’s geology, archaeology, and history while you and an experienced guide explore its unique flora and fauna.
12. Horsin’ Around Adventures
Located a short distance from Sedona in Cornville, ride horseback with a local family through the heart of beautiful Page Springs wine country. Nestled along Oak Creek, the trails provide dramatic views of the countryside and wildlife habitats. Each tour has riding options that optimize the experience for visitors of all ages and abilities.
13. Sedona Star Gazing
Take a cosmic journey beneath a brilliant starlit Sedona sky when you stargaze through custom-built, state-of-the-art telescopes. Professional astronomers use high-powered laser pointers to conduct your tour of the universe. With no light pollution, high altitude, and over 300 clear, dry nights, stargazing in Sedona is a top attraction.
14. Cliff Castle Casino Hotel
Spend some time at the Cliff Castle Casino where you can play the slots and gamble at live table games while the kids enjoy some time in the supervised Kids Quest area. They can test their arcade gaming skills at more than 42 popular high-action games, or have a blast at cosmic bowling on Friday and Saturday evenings when the lights go off, the volume goes up, and the place glows with out-of-this-world, space-themed neon colors.
15. Grand Canyon Day Trip
Take advantage of backyard proximity to the Grand Canyon while using Sedona as basecamp for an awe-inspiring day trip. Once at the Grand Canyon National Park, you can shiver as you take in breathtaking panoramic views of one of the Seven Wonders of the World and walk along the rim in Grand Canyon Village.
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