Sedona Arizona isn’t an unknown destination for Americans who are seeking a combination of luxury, wellness and spirituality — in fact, despite the fact that it’s become more commercialized over the years, it remains a romantic and spiritual-seeking getaway for people who love the outdoors.
My most recent trip in February certainly wasn’t my first, but each and every time I’ve taken the time to relax in Sedona over the years, I’ve had a positive experience. Could it be the magical red rocks that surround the entire town? Could it be the quirky things you can do there in nature, like hikes on trails that are known to have vortexes, exploring the mystical red rocks in a pink jeep, the outstanding spas and healing centers, the fabulous restaurants or the outrageous views?
Anthony had never been to Sedona before, and so I tried to prepare him for what to expect, not just when we arrived, but the views you suddenly get out of nowhere as you make your way south on the Flagstaff road. The road winds its way around passes and if you’re driving you might just miss the steep rocks that spike straight up from the ground along the road and the beautiful big treed forest you make your way through before you hit the breathtaking red canyons, cliffs and well, just gigantic rocks sitting out there in the distance all on their own.
More views on that outrageously beautiful Flagstaff to Sedona road — a must experience if you’re ever planning a trip to America’s west.
As you get close, how about a view from a little further up?
Sedona Grand Canyon Air Tours
OR, how about if you’re very high up, such as in a helicopter, floating sometimes, soaring others, making your way through the center of these mystical canyons? Have a look at some of the stunning views we were blessed with (I was in the front seat of course) from a copter while on one of the Sedona Grand Canyon Air Tours. You can book various tour lengths — they are located at the Sedona Airport next to the Mesa Grill Restaurant in Red Reservation Center. More information at www.sedonaairtours.com — also be sure to read my write up on the tour, which includes a boat load of mesmerizing photos.
Pink Jeep Tours
If you happen to be afraid of heights and would rather than take it all in from a helicopter or plane, how about trekking through these luscious canyons in a pink jeep? Sedona is known for their Pink Jeep Tours, which they’ve been doing now for nearly 60 years. They have various types of tours you can choose from, ranging from ancient ruins and vortexes in and around Sedona to Grand Canyon tours which are obviously much longer and run 10-11 hours in length. Be sure to read my extensive write-up on the Pink Jeep Tours, but just to give you a teaser, how’s this for adventurous fun?
OH, and those glorious views from inside and outside the jeep!
Experience a Vortex in Nature or on a Hike
Sedona is known for its spiritual energy, particularly in its natural earth and red rock. Knowing that there are four core vortex areas (if not possibly more) in Sedona, it’s no wonder that there’s such a new age and spiritual community in Sedona. If you are sensitive to subtle things, the experience of standing at one of these vortexes, and letting the energy flow into you and through you, can be almost overwhelming for some.
The vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. A couple of places to point out worth checking out is off Highway 89A which is a major road in town. From 89A and Route 179, head up Upper Red Rock Loop Road for 1.8 miles, hanging a left on Chavez Ranch Road for yet another .8 mile — at this juncture, you’ll go left on Crescent Moon Park. Once you enter the park, get out of the car at the tail end of the park and walk to the creek. Head east along the creek towards Cathedral Rock and feel the energy changing.
Bell Rock is located on Hwy 179, just north of the Village of Oak Creek (5 miles south of the junction of Hwy 89A and 179). Its distinct shape makes it easy to spot, and parking and trails are clearly visible. You will notice that the energy is strong as soon as you get out of your car.
Nature, Golf & State Parks
3 places worth mentioning here are Red Rock Crossing, Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park. Red Rock Crossing is on Upper Red Rock Loop Road and an easy drive, and both state parks are also close to Sedona — a great place to hang with your family, or simply just relax and take in the scenery and natural beauty around you.
Seven Canyons Golf Resort is on Long Canyon Road just a few miles drive and Sedona Golf Resort is on Ridge Road.
Culture & Art
Cultural activities are in abundance in this great vacation getaway — it’s secluded and relaxing but as noted above, there’s plenty of natural activities to do, but how about the cultural activity lovers among us? Sedona has no shortage of fabulous art, from the center of town to the outskirts, there are numerous art galleries to choose from — a few worth mentioning include:
- Goldenstein Gallery – a gallery showcasing internationally recognized local and regional artists from many traditions including Native American.
- Renee Taylor Gallery – the region’s largest selection of contemporary fine art in metal, canvas, and multimedia formats.
- Lanning Gallery – Arizona’s major Classic and Contemporary Fine Art gallery which features original oils, acrylics, exceptional sculpture, handmade hand-painted furniture and distinctive jewelry,
- ALT Gallery – Antique, vintage and estate fine art, rare and out of print books, artifacts and collectibles. Authorized dealer for “The Art of Dr. Suess”.
- Greg Lawson Galleries – features natural world photographer Greg Lawson in books and framed art.
- Esteban Gallery — Esteban’s features decorative and functional pottery by area artists.
There’s no shortage of shopping in Sedona from the main drag where they have a number of gift shops which sell native American jewelry, belts, clothes and shoes to off-the-beaten path shops outside of town. There are larger shopping complexes such as Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, which is an outdoor market area with lots of inside shops that feature jewelry shops, art galleries, craft shops, cobblestone paths & decorative arches. There’s also the shops at Hilton Pinon Pointe, and Hillside Sedona Shopping Area.
A few shops I discovered in and nearby Sedona below — these span across several trips, all creative stops I always loved making — mostly around crafts, art and furniture. There’s also the “Uptown Area” which is worth walking through for a couple of hours one afternoon.
- Mexidona on Route 89A – love love love this place. It is loaded with pottery and Southwestern style wooden furniture, all creatively decorated, carved and painted.
- Bashas in Sedona on Route 89A and Saddle Rock Consignments
- Design West in Village of Oak Creek on Highway 179 in Sedona
- Blackmars / Sedona at the corner of Route 89A and 179.
- Tuscadero Traders in Cottonwood along Route 89A.
Sedona Foodie Scene
Note to the world, I’m a bit biased about one particular restaurant where I’ve had countless positive experiences over the years – Dahl & DiLuca, where I’ve had dinner each and every time I’ve gone to Sedona, starting back so far that they hadn’t been open that long when I first entered their doors. Be sure to read my write-up on this fabulous gem. Here are the restaurants we dined at while in Sedona:
Dahl & DiLuca on 2321 State Road Route 89A is an old world authentic Italian restaurant with a new modern and elegant design that is both the best of charming, romantic and exquisite even on their worst night. Be sure to read my write-up, which not only includes great foodie shots but also shares the history of my connection to the restaurant.
René Restaurant on 336 Hwy 179 is not only fabulous because I share its name, but is a gem of a find in the upscale Tlaquepaque shopping plaza, which is surrounded by a Mexican courtyard and bubbling fountains. The food and wine pairing is out of this world in this Southwestern Swiss/French blend, open for both lunch and dinner. Outside eating if the weather is good is highly recommended. Read my write-up which includes tons of yummy photos.
Che A Chi Restaurant which is located inside the Enchantment Resort where we stayed (read my review), is a 5 star top notch experience, both from an ambiance and quality of food perspective. Nestled in between the vibrant and stunning Boynton Canyon, you’ll have an exquisite foodie experience that extends far beyond the great red rock views. Read my write-up which includes delicious photos.
Other restaurant suggestions based on personal dining experiences from previous Sedona trips and recommendations from many locals who I spoke to over the course of our stay include:
- L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak, located on Little Lane – Fine-dining for seasonal New American-accented French cuisine & unique natural views.’
- Barking Frog Grille on State Route 89A – Mexican-American cuisine is the highlight at this sprawling restaurant with Southwestern ambiance.
- Mesa Grill on Airport Road — High-ceilinged establishment with many windows & an American menu that includes steaks & seafood.
- Chocola Tree Organic Eatery on State Route 89A – you know we love our organic farm-to-table establishments and this is a great one in Sedona in a funky atmosphere where you can find seasonal vegetarian American fare & sweet treats, free of gluten & processed sugar. YAY!
- Hideaway House – located on SR 179, this eatery with its rustic comfortable decor, beautiful wines, fresh house made food, and patio dining with incredible views, makes a lovely romantic choice.
- The Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits – long established and a classic find. The Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits is where high desert cuisine combines with more than fifty years of old west tradition and history. Years ago when it was a saloon, it was hit by the likes of John Wayne and Elvis Presley.
- El Rincon Restaurante Mexicano – for classic Arizona style Mexican cuisine and top notch margaritas on 336 S.R. 179, not far from Rene Restaurant.
I love Sedona – always have and hopefully always will — although it has become more commercial than perhaps its quieter and more relaxing neighbors Prescott and Jerome to the south, it still has a wealth of charm, fabulous restaurants, art, culture and nature activities for any passing visitor, and the views are quite frankly, hard to beat.