The Best Things to Do in Sedona: Best Day Trips from Phoenix
Famous for its beautiful red rocks, steep canyons, and pine forests, Sedona and the surrounding Oak Creek Canyon area is an excellent spot for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming. Sedona offers one of the most diverse and best day trips from Phoenix!
No matter how you spend your time in Sedona, you will be amazed by picturesque views everywhere you go!
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Best Time to Visit
March – November
Distance from Phoenix
118 miles (2 hours)
Sedona: Best Day Trip From Phoenix
To make the most out of your day trip to Sedona, I would recommend leaving Phoenix by 7-8 AM to arrive in Sedona by 9-10 AM.
As I drive into Sedona, I usually stop at Creekside Coffee for a coffee and small bite to eat. This warm and inviting coffee shop is one of the best in Sedona, and offers an incredible view of the red rocks!
After enjoying a coffee, lace up your hiking shoes and get ready to explore Sedona!
Take a Hike in Sedona
A trip to Sedona is not complete without going on a hike. No matter what type of hike you are looking for, Sedona has something to offer you.
Here are my favorite easy, moderate, and difficult hikes in the area!
West Fork Trail (Easy)
West Fork Trail is a 7.2-mile hike (that feels more like a long walk) along a river surrounded by trees and beautiful scenery. During the hike, you cross the river a dozen times, so be sure to wear shoes you can get wet. The hike ends at the same spot as the river, at the bottom of a breathtaking canyon.
Devil’s Bridge (Moderate)
Devil’s Bridge is an iconic Sedona hike that ends on a red rock bridge (hence the name) with a stunning view of the Sedona skyline! This 4.2-mile hike is popular and heavily trafficked (for a good reason!), so prepare yourself to brave the crowds.
Cathedral Rock (Difficult)
Cathedral Rock is a short and strenuous 1.2-mile hike with an elevation gain of 744 feet. It’s a climb, but the views at the top of the peak are worth it! Expect to use your hands to climb up, and be prepared to use your hands and legs to slide down the mountain!
Slide Rock State Park (Bonus!)
If you visit Sedona during the summer months and it feels too hot for a hike, take a swim at Slide Rock State Park, instead. This is one of Arizona’s most popular attractions the experience during one of the best day trips from Phoenix!
Located in Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock is a natural water slide surrounded by a swimming area that spans half a mile. After taking a swim and trying the water slide, there is plenty of room on the shore to lay on a beach towel and enjoy the sunshine!
Depending on the time of year, entrance into Slide Rock State Park can cost anywhere between $10 – $30 per vehicle. Come prepared to pay with Visa or MasterCard, but if you pay with cash, you must use exact change (to avoid making the same mistake I did!).
Grab Lunch in Sedona
After your hike, it should be early afternoon—the perfect time to grab lunch!
I’ll be honest with you … Sedona is not my favorite spot when it comes to restaurants. Since Sedona is extremely touristy, most restaurants are expensive, and the ones that are more affordably priced aren’t always the greatest.
That being said, there are still some great spots in Sedona to stop for lunch. Here are a few of my favorite options!
89Agave Cantina ($$)
This Sonoran-style restaurant has a casual, fun vibe and is located in Uptown Sedona. If you’re looking to try some authentic Mexican food, this is a great spot! I usually order the enchiladas.
Whole Foods ($)
Okay, don’t laugh at me, but I’ve honestly eaten lunch at the Whole Foods in Sedona more often than I have at a restaurant.
Whole Foods has so many delicious (and affordable!) ready-to-eat options: soups, salads, sandwiches, teriyaki bowls, sushi, and more!
The best part is that you can eat your lunch on the patio and enjoy the incredible Sedona views. A real win-win, if you ask me!
Shop in Sedona
After lunch, spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the shops in Sedona. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, wandering around the shops is an experience in itself. Here are my favorite shopping areas to explore!
Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
If you are looking for a shopping experience that encompasses Sedona’s taste of Native American art and culture, Tlaquepaque is an excellent location to visit. The shops are filled with one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, and handmade clothing.
Though it is a pricey place to shop, Tlaquepaque is fashioned after a beautiful Spanish-colonial-style village, which makes it a unique spot to see. Enjoy walking down the cobblestone walkways and the quaint plazas when you visit!
Uptown Sedona offers a selection of affordable shopping options and souvenir shops. Some of my favorite shops to visit are:
Red Rock Apothecary for handmade bath bombs and other beauty products.
Earthbound Trading Co. for trendy clothing and jewelry, along with the new-age vibe and incredible views!
Before You Leave Head Back to Phoenix…
Before you drive back to Phoenix, stop by Black Cow Cafe for homemade ice cream or a slice of pie! This cute cafe is the best spot for ice cream in Sedona, and the staff is always so friendly!
I especially enjoy the affogatos at Black Cow Cafe. If you are not familiar, an affogato is a shot of espresso over ice cream. It’s the perfect pick me up after a full day of hiking, shopping, and exploring to make it back to Phoenix in time for dinner!
Well, there you have it! You can see why Sedona is one of the best day trips from Phoenix.
If you visit Sedona and stop at one of the places on this tour guide, share your photo on Instagram and tag me (@travelbybrit) so I can see it! Or, if you find your own fantastic spot during your trip, let me know so I can check it out the next time I visit!
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Interested in checking out more to do near Sedona? Read about the nearby town, Arcosanti, AZ!