While Sedona is a fabulous destination all on its own, it’s also a great “home base” for exploring other cities throughout Arizona. There are tons of day trips from Sedona to choose from — but without a doubt, the following destinations are the best day trips from Sedona!
This post was written by guest contributor Megan from Red Around the World.
Best Day Trips from Sedona
- Distance from Sedona: 50 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Flagstaff is a popular destination and a midsize college town in Arizona, home to several craft breweries, a cute downtown, local restaurants, beautiful nature, and one of Arizona’s top ski areas — Arizona Snowbowl. It’s located near the San Francisco Mountains between Page and Sedona.
If you want to experience nature in Flagstaff, visit Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments, drive the San Francisco Peaks Loop, and hit one of the many mountain trails. It’s also worth walking around the shops downtown and hitting one of the city’s local breweries. Historic Brewing Barrel + Bottle House is one of our favorites!
Wupatki and Walnut National Monuments are a must for history lovers. The Lowell Observatory, Museum of Northern Arizona, Pioneer Museum, and Riordan Mansion State Historic Park are other great places to visit, especially during the peak summer heat.
Heavy snow may make mountain roads and trails inaccessible if you visit Flagstaff in the winter. However, that means you can head to Arizona Snowbowl to do some skiing and snowboarding instead, or you can trade your hiking boots for snowshoes!
- Distance from Sedona: 45 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Jerome is a fun Sedona day trip for lovers of history and hauntings. This old mining town is precariously perched on the hillside, looking down at Cottonwood and Clarkdale in the Verde Valley.
A ghost tour is one of the best things to do in Jerome (day or night!). This little town has a lot of haunted history, and a ghost tour is a great way to experience and learn about it without spending the night.
Not into the spooky side of town? No worries! Jerome offers historic tours, too. Be sure to walk around, see the sights in town, like the Sliding Jail, and visit all the stores, especially Nellie Bly’s Kaleidoscope Shop — the largest kaleidoscope shop in the world!
Stop into the Jerome State Historic Park, Gold King Mine & Ghost Town, and Audrey Headframe Park while you’re here as well. And don’t forget to grab a meal at the iconic restaurant in Jerome — The Haunted Hamburger!
- Distance from Sedona: 3 hours
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Page is a small, sleepy town, but the natural attractions that surround it are exceptional. Page is home to two of the most well-known landmarks in the U.S. — Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon.
While in Page, you should visit Horseshoe Bend and do the short hike to the overlook. The New Wave/Rock Lane Trail (same trail, two names), the Rim Trail, and the Hanging Garden Trail are three other nice hikes in Page.
There are many slot canyons in Page to choose from, but Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are the most popular (and expensive), while Canyon X and Waterholes are less crowded and more budget-friendly.
4. Saguaro National Park
- Distance from Sedona: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Want to take that iconic saguaro cactus photo? Well, this is the spot to get it! This beautiful national park on the outskirts of Tucson is one of the three national parks in Arizona.
Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections: East and West. Both areas are great and have plenty to offer, but most tourists prefer to visit the park’s west side. There are more short hikes on this side of the park, as well as more saguaros and prettier views. The park’s west side will be busier — but for good reason.
While here, hike the Valley View Trail, the Signal Hill Petroglyph Trail, and the Desert Discovery Trail. The Hugh Norris Trail is a long, strenuous trail if you’re looking for something more challenging. You can always do part of this trail in addition to the others.
Saguaro National Park is the longest day trip from Sedona on the list, and it might be better attempted as a weekend trip while staying a few nights in Tuscon. If you just want to see saguaros, you can also find them in Phoenix, which is closer. But if you’re a national park chaser — you can’t miss Saguaro National Park while in Arizona!
5. Petrified Forest National Park
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours and 20 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: This is a fun national park that often lands on people’s lists of least favorite national parks — but don’t let that scare you off! This is a great day trip from Sedona for history buffs and geology fans. It’s right on Route 66 and could be combined with Winslow.
While at Petrified Forest National Park, you must hit the trails and admire the petrified wood’s colors. But expect something other than an actual forest. This forest is long gone, and petrified logs lie on the ground. It doesn’t sound cool, but it is — trust me!
Be sure to stop at the visitor’s center before hiking the Blue Mesa Trail, the Crystal Forest Loop, and the Agate House/Long Logs Loop. The Jasper Forest is a great hiking area with no official trail. You can accomplish quite a bit with just one day in Petrified Forest!
6. Grand Canyon National Park
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours and 10 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: This is one of the best day trips from Sedona simply because it’s one of the most iconic landscapes in the U.S. How can you be so close and not go to the Grand Canyon on a day trip from Sedona?
If it’s summer, skip hiking below the rim due to the extreme heat and dramatic elevation change. Remember, walking down is easy, but you must hike back out. Bring plenty of water and take your time. The Shoshone Point Trail is a great, easy rim hike. You can also hike or bike on the Rim Trail.
Do the whole scenic drive and enjoy the views from the many overlooks. See the Desert Watchtower, visit the gallery in Grand Canyon Village, and take a ride on the Hermit Road Shuttle. If you do want to hike below the rim, don’t go all the way to the river. The South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge is a good option.
- Distance from Sedona: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: This is another Route 66 stop, and it’s not too far from Grand Canyon Village (in fact, Williams has been nicknamed the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon!). Stop here on your way to the Grand Canyon. You won’t regret it!
While in Williams, stroll through the main downtown area and see what the shops offer. Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum is a fantastic place to learn about the town of Williams and Route 66. There are also excellent local restaurants and breweries in Williams where you can enjoy a bite or a drink, like Historic Brewing Company and Red Raven Restaurant. Bill Williams Mountain is a great hiking opportunity just outside of town if you won’t be entering the Grand Canyon.
One of the coolest experiences in Williams is riding on the Grand Canyon Railway, which takes you to the national park on a historic train. Even if you don’t want to ride the train, the depot is a great place to learn about the area, and if you’re visiting during Christmas, be sure to ride the Polar Express for a magical experience.
- Distance from Sedona: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Prescott is a midsize town between Sedona and Phoenix. It’s famous for its cowboy history and has a lovely historic downtown. There is plenty to do here on a day trip from Sedona!
If you want to get outside, Watson Lake is one of the best things to do in Prescott and an excellent choice for hiking, birding, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Thumb Butte Trail is an excellent hike in Prescott National Forest if you’re looking for a trail that offers more trees and scenery besides the lake.
In town, visit Whiskey Row, Courthouse Square, Fort Whipple Museum, Phippen Museum, Museum of Indigenous People, and Sharlot Hall Museum. There are also tons of local coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and places to eat in Prescott. We recommend stopping at FARM Provisions, Palace Restaurant & Saloon, and The County Seat. There is a ton of fabulous shopping along Whiskey Row and Courthouse Square, too!
- Distance from Sedona: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Winslow is another town on Route 66 between Flagstaff and Petrified Forest National Park. There are better spots for hiking, but it’s great for history!
On the drive here, you can stop at Walnut Canyon National Monument to see ruins and do some hiking. Homolovi State Park is another similar stop outside of Winslow. The Meteor Crater is a quick stop along the highway, too, but it is a bit expensive, so only stop here if you’re interested in this specific tourist attraction.
In Winslow, you can visit the Old Trails Museum, First Street Pathway Park, Apache Death Cave, and the famous Route 66 sign painted at Standin’ on the Corner Park (you know the song — right?). Take a walk around downtown historic Winslow while you’re here.
- Distance from Sedona: 30 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Cottonwood is a small town on the way from Sedona to Jerome. It’s an outstanding spot for wine tasting, and it even has a couple of national monuments nearby.
On your way to Cottonwood, stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Then, when you get to Cottonwood, head to Tuzigoot National Monument before checking out Old Town Cottonwood — one of the best things to do in Cottonwood. There are a few local restaurants and some boutique shops here, as well as several wine-tasting rooms where you can stop for a flight or a glass!
Cottonwood is next to Cornville, where you’ll find several gorgeous vineyards on the Verde Valley Wine Trail. We recommend stopping at Page Springs Cellars and D.A. Ranch on a day trip from Sedona.
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: If you want a little city life, Greater Phoenix is the perfect place to find it — after all, Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the United States!
Phoenix has many things to do to keep you busy — in fact, it will be impossible to hit them all in just one day.
If you want to do some hiking, Lost Dutchman State Park, Piestewa Peak Trail, Pinnacle Peak Trail, and Tom’s Thumb Trail are great hiking trails in Phoenix. Just remember not to hike in Phoenix in the summer. The months of October through May are ideal for hiking in Phoenix.
There are many other attractions in Phoenix besides hiking, including the Desert Botanical Garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Musical Instrument Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, and golf courses galore.
We also recommend walking around Old Town Scottsdale to check out the boutique shopping and local dining and enjoying one of the best brunch places in Phoenix after you arrive from Sedona, like Hash Kitchen or Snooze, to fuel up for the day!
12. Lake Powell
- Distance from Sedona: 3 hours 10 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Lake Powell is technically in Page, but it deserves its own spot on this list because you need a whole day on the water. While Lake Powell is manmade, it’s a unique landscape you won’t find anywhere else.
The best way to experience Lake Powell is by renting a boat. This way, you can go wherever you want, within reason, since no gas is available in the middle of the lake. You should be able to get to Rainbow Bridge and back with minimal side trips (just be sure you have enough gas so you don’t get stranded in the middle of the lake).
If you don’t want to go quite that far, you can see Antelope Canyon (the same one on land, but the lake part looks different), West Canyon, Navajo Canyon, Wiregrass Canyon, Lone Rock, and more from the lake. If you don’t want to boat, you could rent kayaks!
13. Lees Ferry
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours 50 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Lees Ferry is part of Glen Canyon, like Lake Powell, but on the other side of Glen Canyon Dam. However, Lees Ferry has access to the Colorado River, unlike Lake Powell!
If you’re visiting Lees Ferry in late summer or fall, you can pick fruit in the orchard at Lonely Dell Ranch! You can also hang out on the beach along the river, see where the Paria and Colorado Rivers meet, hike the Cathedral Wash Trail, hike the River Trail, and enjoy the view from the Navajo Bridge near the visitor center.
If you want to do something more adventurous, you can do a rafting trip from here. Some rafting tours on the Colorado River leave as a day trip from Sedona and Flagstaff.
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Wickenburg is the fifth oldest town in Arizona and the oldest town in Arizona north of Tucson. It’s great for visiting dude ranches, learning about the Old West, and hiking.
Start your day trip from Sedona to Wickenburg off at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum before strolling down historic Frontier Street, where you’ll find the old Santa Fe Depot and the Historic Railroad Engine and Caboose.
Don’t skip seeing the old jail — a 200-year-old mesquite tree —in downtown. If you’re into spooky things, consider joining a ghost tour. If you’d like to do some hiking, there are four options: Box Canyon, Dana Arch, Vulture Peak, and Hassayampa River Preserve. Off-roading tours are also available if you want to get outside without hiking.
- Distance from Sedona: 2 hours 50 minutes
- Why it’s one of the best day trips from Sedona: Kingman, another stop on Route 66, is less than an hour from the border of Nevada. Back in the day, Kingman was famous for mining and ranching and makes a great Sedona day trip today.
The Route 66 Museum in Kingman is a must-see, along with Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, which will throw you back in time. The Mohave History Museum, the Bonelli House, the Dream Machine Museum, the Desert Diamond Distillery, and historic downtown are all worth visiting, too.
You can also visit the Kingman Locomotive Park, look for a Route 66 road shield (the Route 66 sign painted onto the road), see a Christmas-themed ghost town called Santa Claus, and visit the preserved ghost town called Chloride.
Hit the Road & Enjoy These Best Day Trips from Sedona
Whether you’re into hiking, national parks, wine tasting, or shopping — you’re sure to find a day trip from Sedona, Arizona, that will fulfill your sense of adventure!
Which of these best day trips from Sedona would be at the top of your list of places to explore in Arizona?
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