I wasn’t prepared for just how much I would fall in love with Sedona. People all over the world flock here to soak up the spiritual juju of the vortexes, go hiking among the red rocks, find healing stones to bring home and of course, relax in luxury hotels.
My husband and I traveled to Sedona on our first time to Arizona. We flew into Las Vegas and after a night next to the Grand Canyon, drove down to Sedona. The second we turned a corner and saw those famous towering Sedona red rocks, my jaw drop. This place is MAGICAL.
This is my ultimate Sedona Itinerary aka How to Spend The Perfect Weekend in Sedona. I’ll be sharing fun hikes, my favorite vortexes, cool hotels, good eats, what to pack and more!
You are going to LOVE your weekend in Sedona, especially if you haven’t been to Arizona before! I grew up in Wisconsin so my knowledge of Arizona on this visit was pretty limited. We now live in San Francisco and since have returned to Arizona many times (it’s our favorite state to treat as our backyard!) What I adore about this state is how varied the landscape is.
It was snowing up North in the Grand Canyon National Park and Flagstaff when we visited. On the opposite side in Green Valley, it’s pure heat and desert. Sedona, Arizona is more Northern but this pocket of the landscape is utterly unique to the country.
Here is where you find the famous Red Rocks, which, true to their name, are giant red rocks that look more like small mountains versus boulders. During the golden hour or after a rainstorm, the color turns deeper and makes you feel like you are walking on Mars. I’ve never seen anything like it. (Some people say Sedona looks a little like Bryce Canyon national park but I haven’t been to confirm!)
Before we jump into my suggested Sedona itinerary, let’s chat vortexes real quick, as they are what makes Sedona stand out. A vortex is supposedly swirling centers of energy which promotes healing, meditation and self-exploration. You find them out on the red rock formations, usually a short hike in.
We visited a few and I remember sitting down on one, closing my eyes and I swear I felt something. Could have been all my imagination, but I felt more at ease after we left, almost like I just did a long spout of meditation.
Most Popular Vortex Sights
- Airport Mesa (easy hike!)
- Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing
- Bell Rock
- Boynton Canyon trail
People all over the United States and world plan a trip to Sedona Arizona just to sit in a vortex to soak up healing energy. You can book a tour but I suggest you go by yourself as this is more of a personal experience in my opinion. Soak in those red rock views and find inner peace! When planning a trip to Sedona, you have to set aside time for vortexes.
3 Day Sedona itinerary – The Perfect Weekend in Sedona
We did a big road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon down to Sedona and back again. But, most people fly into Phoenix and drive the few hours up to Sedona. I suggest you spend at least two nights in Sedona vs one day so you have time to explore AND relax! More if you can swing it.
With that in mind, this is a Friday-Sunday plan for a long weekend in Sedona, but you can modify it to just be Saturday and Sunday if needed.
You’ll need a car for your trip as this is a smaller city and relying on Ubers or the public bus just isn’t a smart idea. I recommend booking your car from rentalcars.com! We use this site to rent cars all over the country.
Try to land or arrive before 2pm on Friday. Most people fly into Phoenix and drive up. Some people prefer to make a pit stop in Scottsdale for a few days first (we love that colorful city so I highly recommend that if you can swing the days off!) If you plan on working Friday, try your best to get off a few hours early and make it to Sedona by 5pm the latest. There are just so many things to do in Sedona. This will allow you to have the best vacation possible!
Where to Stay In Sedona
Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel! We stayed at the Amara and it’s honestly one of my most favorite hotels we have ever stayed in (and we’ve traveled all over the world!) It’s totally the best of the Sedona resorts. What makes the Amara stand out is their stunning courtyard which backs right up to a red rock formation.
They have an infinity pool, hot tub, firepits and lawn games. Everything is centered around those beautiful views of the rocks. We visited in January when it was low season and it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
I remember sitting in that hot tub one evening and being able to see millions of stars above me. The next morning, I went for a sunrise swim and watched the red rocks shine orange in the morning light. I love this place.
Of course, there are tons of other nice Sedona hotels. Here’s some other recommended options at various budgets:
- Hilton Sedona Resort: This is another popular boutique resort in Sedona. It doesn’t nestle right up to red rocks like the Amara does, but have sweeping views, outdoor fire pits, great onsite dining and more!
- The Views Inn Sedona: If you are looking for a budget hotel / motel, the Views Inn has the highest guest ratings. It usually averages around $100 a night and does have a pool for summer trips!
- Sedona Airbnb: We love staying in Airbnbs when we travel, especially when we are with a large group of friends! I really like this house in Sedona, but you can find hundreds in the area. I have a whole roundup of the coolest Airbnbs in Sedona that you can reference, too (plan smarter not harder, right?!)
After settling in, head to downtown Sedona to stroll along the main street and check out all the stores and crafts village! You’ll find tons of crystal and gemstone stores. If you’re on the hunt for real turquoise or a healing crystal, this is your city!
We bought a Himalayan salt candle holder. Funny story about this – we didn’t check any bags on this trip and we got pulled aisde during our TSA screening. Turns out, a giant hunk of salt looks a LOT like drugs on scanners!
Once you got the lay of the land, it’s time to hit up your first Vortex! The Airport Mesa Vortex is a really easy one to visit. It’s close to downtown and just a short hike from the parking lot. Some of the vortices require a long hike in, but not this one!
We visited in the evening right after it rained, so all the stones were extra bright red. On a sunny day, you should time this vortex visit for golden hour and/or sunset for a breathtaking view. It’s basically the perfect way to start your trip! Make sure to wear comfy shoes (aka not heels!) as you ARE climbing on rocks!
Kimpton hotels always offer a FREE happy hour for guests in the lobby each night! Come for drinks and sometimes light bites. So, after your vortex visit, head back to your hotel (assuming you are staying at the Amara, which you should) and grab a couple of happy hour drinks. If it’s nice out, bring it to one of the outdoor firepits.
For dinner, I recommend you dine at Amara’s restaurant, the SaltRock Southwest Kitchen We had an amazing dinner here. Start with one of their craft margaritas. Make sure to try their quail eggs (my first time having quail eggs and now I’m obsessed!) Honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Today you should take one of the famous Pink Jeep Tours! But first, breakfast. Try the Wildflower Bread Company for tasty food and good views! The best way to wake up.
Pink Jeep Tours famous for their bright pink jeeps (hence the name!) and the varied routes they offer. You can book Sedona jeep tours to anything from a Grand Canyon visit to a 2 hour drive around backcountry canyons, and everything in between. This is a great way to see stuff you can easily hike to! Book the best deal with this link!
Some of the jeep tours include lunch. If you didn’t eat yet, head to the Indian Garden’s Cafe for sandwiches or a salad! After a busy morning, it’s time to slow down for the afternoon. Lounge by the pool or hit up a spa for a relaxing massage treatment.
Doesn’t sounds like you? Here are optional alternatives for this afternoon:
- Day trip to Jerome about 1.5 hours away, a cute little miner’s town I fell in love with!
- Go hiking around Red Rock State Park, a 200+ acre park with tons of trails!
- Go Hiking the Devils Bridge Sedona trail, a 6 mile hike with sweeping views.
Again, you can grab free happy hour drinks from the Amara before dinner at Che Ah Chi, my recommended place to dine with stunning red rock views! This is considered one of the most romantic places to eat in Sedona which makes a great place to eat on your last night in town!
Grab coffee and put on your hiking boots, it’s time to visit Slide Rock State Park. It’s famous for the natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek Canyon. Here you can go swimming in the natural forming pools or just go hiking around the trails!
I fell in love with hot springs in California last year and since have been obsessed with finding other natural watering holes around the country. It just makes such a unique way to experience nature. Make sure to read all the safety tips here before you go.
If that doesn’t sound fun, of if it’s winter when it’s too cold to swim, head to Boynton Canyon Vortex instead. This is where we opted to hike since we visited in January! The hike is mostly flat up to the rocks. It’s not too hard but we did work up an appetite, so bring some snacks!
This is the spot that I totally felt the power of the vortex. Maybe it was just the view up top (sweeping, stunning, the whole shebang) but I felt like this was the closest to magic I’ll ever get.
You can check out Chapel of the Holy Cross if you want. It’s a church built into the Red Rocks. and they offer tours for about $19 a person. Then, off to brunch! Creekside Sedona is known for their views with a side of brunch. Favorites are the fried with lemon aioli, the ahi burger and a burrito so big most people can’t finish it.
By now, it’s Sunday afternoon and time to head on home, or to your next destination! Sedona to Grand Canyon is about 2 hours, so perhaps you’ll continue on our Arizona adventure up there? Or, check out the colorful Scottsdale down south (another favorite city of ours!)
- Tips for visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter
- My huge Scottsdale travel guide
- 11 fun things to do in Green Valley AZ
- Things to do in Scottsdale during Holidays
What To Do In Sedona
If you don’t like reading and are just looking for a quick copy and paste friendly weekend in Sedona list, this is it! Here’s our perfect Sedona weekend getaway!
- Check into the Amara Resort
- Explore downtown Sedona
- Visit the Aiport Mesa Vortex
- Dinner at SaltRock
- Breakfast at Wildflower Bread Company
- Pink Jeep Tour
- Lunch at Indian Garden Cafe
- Relax at the pool/spa afternoon
- OR – go hiking Red Rock State Park
- OR – take a day trip to Jerome
- Dinner at Che a Chi
- Morning hike to Slide Rock State Park
- OR morning hike to Boynton Canyon Vortex
- Brunch at Creekside Sedona
- Say goodbye!
PStt – If you’re on an Arizona honeymoon, you can’t skip this amazing town. I would suggest spending a lot of time in Scottsdale but spend a few days in Sedona and the Grand Canyon to switch things up.
I hope this helps you have a really fun Sedona vacation! We loved our visit and I can’t wait to return for a longer Sedona trip one day. We were planning something last summer but 2020 got in the way. Next time, I want to plan a large Sedona Arizona vacation in a road trip from Southern California to New Mexico, stopping in Northern Arizona along the way. Stay tuned for that travel guide!
Got questions or tips to add? Leave a comment below! You can always DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help as well!