Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania. He prefers a slower pace to his travels to explore destinations more in-depth and to get a feel for what life is actually like there. When he’s not writing, he’s usually off exploring trails with his fiancée, Kaitlyn.
Spend 3 days in Sedona the right way. Discover the top activities, places to stay, and must-see sights with this Sedona 3 day itinerary.
Ever felt like escaping to the red rock landscapes of the Wild West for a few days?
Welcome to Sedona! A place where beauty meets adventure, and your Instagram feed gets a serious upgrade.
As your unofficial guide, I’m here to ensure you get the most out of your three-day visit. Whether it’s a long weekend in Sedona or a fast-paced trip, I’ll explore everything from the top tourist spots to the hidden gems only locals know about.
And you’ll get an amazing itinerary along the way!
If you’re ready, then let’s get to the goods!
An overview of Sedona
Sedona is a must-visit destination that’s as warm and inviting as the red rock formations that define its landscape.
Sedona is located in the heart of Arizona. And it’s a melting pot of natural beauty, spiritual energy, and cultural richness that travelers of all kinds love. Flanked by towering sandstone cliffs that shimmer with a fiery red glow during sunrise and sunset, Sedona’s natural beauty amazes every person who drives through.
And the town isn’t just a pretty face. From uptown Sedona to the heart of West Sedona, it’s a thriving hub for the spiritually inclined, renowned for its vortexes, thought to be swirling centers of energy conducive to healing and self-exploration.
But don’t let the mystical woo-woo scare you off. Sedona has a down-to-earth side, too.
It’s steeped in rich history and culture, from Native American traditions to the artistic flair visible in its various galleries and exhibitions.
And don’t forget the food. From high-end restaurants to cozy cafes, Sedona serves up a plateful of amazing dishes that’ll have you unbuckling your belt by the end.
So whether you’re a nature lover looking to hike your heart out, a spiritual seeker wanting to tap into the town’s energy, a history buff, a culture vulture, or just a foodie with a taste for the good life, Sedona has something for you.
Best time to visit Sedona
The best time of year to visit Sedona largely depends on what you’re after.
Sedona has a mild climate year-round, making it a fantastic destination no matter the season. But each part of the year offers its own unique charm.
Spring is one of the best times to see how beautiful Sedona can be.
The weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from high 60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (20-30 Celsius). This makes it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or biking.
Plus, the desert flowers are in full bloom, painting the landscape in a vibrant array of colors.
Summers in Sedona get hot, with temperatures soaring into the 90s and even 100s Fahrenheit (32-40 Celsius).
But don’t let a little heat scare you away! There’s still plenty to do. Enjoy early morning hikes before the heat sets in, explore the town’s galleries and shops in the afternoon, or take a refreshing dip in Oak Creek.
Just remember to stay hydrated!
Fall brings a kaleidoscope of colors to Sedona as the leaves start to change.
The temperatures hover around the mid-60s to 80s Fahrenheit (18-27 Celsius), providing comfortable conditions for exploring. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some truly spectacular sunsets!
While winter might not be the first season you think of when planning a trip to a desert town, don’t write off Sedona just yet!
The chilly temperatures, which dip to the mid-30s to 60s Fahrenheit (1-15 Celsius), are offset by the stunning sight of snow dusting the red rocks. Trust me, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss!
So, go ahead. Pick your preferred season and start packing!
Where to stay in Sedona
Sedona’s got plenty of accommodation options, from the luxurious to the cozy.
Here are some of the top places to relax after a long day in Sedona:
If you’re looking to pamper yourself, Sedona is home to several luxury resorts that offer top-notch amenities and stunning views of the red rocks.
Here are a few of the best:
- Enchantment Resort: Tucked away in West Sedona, this upscale resort offers an immersive experience in the beauty and spiritual energy of Sedona. With a world-class spa, delectable dining, and various outdoor activities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave!
- L’Auberge de Sedona: This luxury hotel boasts a riverside location with stunning views and elegant amenities. Book a cottage by the creek for the ultimate romantic getaway.
- Amara Resort and Spa: Situated in the heart of Sedona, this chic resort offers modern amenities with a touch of Southwestern charm. Don’t forget to take a dip in their saltwater pool!
Cozy hotels in Sedona
Want to feel more at home during your Sedona getaway?
Try one of Sedona’s charming hotels. You’ll feel like part of the family during your stay.
Here are some hotels I recommend:
- El Portal Sedona: This pet-friendly B&B offers a unique blend of modern comfort and historical architecture. Plus, the personalized service is second to none.
- Sedona Views Bed and Breakfast: Nestled right in the heart of red rock country, this B&B offers stunning views from every room. Plus, the homemade breakfast is to die for!
- Canyon Villa Bed and Breakfast Inn of Sedona: This inn offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle. It’s the ideal spot if you’re seeking tranquility and breathtaking views.
Where to eat in Sedona
Eating in Sedona takes you on a journey from five-star restaurants to laid-back diners.
You have a choice from various restaurants, but Sedona has some incredible Mexican food you can’t miss out on.
So, here are some of the top restaurants to check out:
- Elote Cafe: A must-visit for food lovers. Renowned for its Mexican-inspired cuisine with a twist, this restaurant combines local ingredients with traditional recipes that will leave you craving more. Don’t forget to try their signature Elote dish.
- Dahl & Di Luca: The place to be. With its impressive wine list and palate-pleasing dishes like homemade pasta and risotto, it’s no wonder this restaurant has won numerous awards.
- Mariposa: Latin-inspired cuisine with a panoramic view of Sedona’s red rocks? Talk about a meal with a view.
- Sedona Pizza & Pasta Company: This joint is perfect for a laid-back lunch or dinner with a relaxed vibe and delicious pizzas and pasta.
- Coffee Pot Restaurant: Known for its 101 omelets, it’s an ideal spot for breakfast or brunch.
- Oak Creek Brewery and Grill: A haven for beer lovers. With their wide variety of local craft beers paired with their hearty meals, it’s a match made in foodie heaven.
So, whether you’re in the mood for an extravagant meal or a casual bite, Sedona has an array of dining options to cater to your desires.
Just remember, the calories you eat in Sedona, stay in Sedona!
How to get to Sedona
Alright, so you’re sold on the Sedona magic and can’t wait to get there.
But how exactly do you make your way there?
First, flying to Sedona isn’t an option. There’s no commercial airport. The nearest major airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. And the drive from Phoenix to Sedona takes about 2 hours. Car rentals are plentiful from the airport, and the drive there is scenic! So it’s not all bad!
Not keen on driving? Not a problem!
Numerous shuttle services offer services from Phoenix to Sedona. Just sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving. Plus, you can use the journey to plan your first day’s adventure in Sedona!
If you’re coming from the north, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is another option.
It’s a bit of a longer drive, around 4.5 hours. But it’s all worth it once you arrive in Sedona.
Sedona is conveniently located off Interstate 17, making it easily accessible from all corners of the country. Just pack your bags, hit the road, and let your GPS guide you to the desert!
If you’re more of a train enthusiast, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line stops in Flagstaff, a mere hour’s drive from Sedona.
From there, you can grab a car rental or catch a shuttle to Sedona.
Planes, trains, and automobiles — one way or another, you’ll find your way there.
Tips for a trip to Sedona
Here are some handy tips to ensure your visit is as smooth as the red rocks themselves.
These tips will keep you safe and help you have the best time during your visit:
- Pack essentials: Sedona’s climate varies greatly, so it’s crucial to come prepared. Pack layers, including a light jacket or sweater, for the cooler evenings. And remember, you’ll be exploring breathtaking trails, so don’t forget your comfy hiking shoes!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Did I mention it can get pretty hot in Sedona? Hydration is key! Always have a bottle of water with you, especially when hitting those trails.
- Respect the environment: Sedona’s beauty lies in its pristine, unspoiled nature. Let’s keep it that way! Stay on marked trails, don’t litter, and definitely do not carve your initials into the majestic red rocks.
- Plan ahead: Research the trails and attractions you want to see, and be sure to check their hours. Some places require reservations or have limited access, so don’t leave it to chance.
- Get an early start: Want to beat the crowds and the scorching afternoon sun? Then, get an early start to your day – the trails are especially serene in the morning.
With these tips in hand, you’re all set for the adventure of a lifetime in Sedona!
So, let’s get to that 3 day Sedona itinerary I mentioned.
Sedona 3 day itinerary
Alright, now that you’ve got the gist of Sedona, let’s get down to the specifics.
Here are the things to do in Sedona, broken down day by day for you with the perfect Sedona 3 day itinerary:
Day 1: Exploring Sedona’s Natural Wonders
So, you’ve just woken up on the first day of your Sedona trip.
The sun is shining. You’ve got a full day ahead and a world of natural wonders to explore. Sounds like it’s time for a hike in Sedona!
The first stop is the iconic Red Rock Scenic Byway. As you drive along the highway, prepare to be amazed by the red rocks of Sedona and their incredible views.
Enjoy the ride as you make your way toward your first Sedona hike of the day.
Note: The byway is only 7.5 miles long, but with so many stunning vistas, allow at least an hour to drive, stop, and soak in the sights.
Next, it’s time to stretch those legs with a hike.
You have a few different options for day hikes here:
- Bell Rock (1.8 miles, loop trail)
- Cathedral Rock (1.2 miles, out-and-back trail)
- Devil’s Bridge (4 miles, out-and-back trail)
I went with Bell Rock on my visit since it was a bit flatter, and I wanted to run some of the parts.
Any of the three are great choices, but you’ll likely find larger crowds at Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock compared to Bell Rock.
But don’t let that damper your spirits! Enjoy the hike and the beautiful scenery.
After an exhilarating day of hiking, you must be hungry! Head to one of Sedona’s casual eateries for lunch and refuel for an exciting afternoon.
Post lunch, gear up for a thrilling Pink Jeep Tour.
These popular off-road adventures offer a unique way to explore Sedona’s rugged landscape and learn about its geology, flora, and fauna from expert guides. There’s no better way to get down and dirty with Sedona’s terrain!
An alternative is to head to Slide Rock State Park to escape the heat with some much-needed water time!
As the sun begins to set, make your way to Airport Mesa, one of the best spots in Sedona for stunning sunset vistas. The fiery hues of the sky against the red rocks present a spectacle you won’t forget. Indeed, a picture-perfect end to your first day in Sedona.
Get a good night’s sleep, dear traveler. Tomorrow, we dive into Sedona’s spiritual side.
Day 2: Immersing in Sedona’s spiritual side
Type “Sedona” into Google, and you’ll quickly see Sedona vortex in the recommended searches.
Sedona is a popular place for vortexes, which are powerful energy centers said to promote healing and self-exploration. These spots are a must-visit for anyone looking to tap into the town’s unique spiritual energy. And there are four Sedona vortexes to check out.
So, you’re diving right into it on day two:
Start your day at the Bell Rock Vortex, known for its distinctive bell shape and intense energy.
Hiking the Bell Rock Pathway will give you a chance to experience this vortex’s uplifting power firsthand.
Next, head to the Airport Mesa Vortex. It’s a bit of a climb, but the panoramic view of Sedona’s red rocks is absolutely worth it. Plus, the energy at this vortex is said to help you rise above life’s challenges.
Had enough hiking?
Time for some retail therapy! The town of Sedona has a plethora of metaphysical shops where you can snag crystals, tarot decks, and other spiritual tools. Crystal Magic and Mystical Bazaar are a couple of local favorites.
After all that shopping, it’s time to grab some food. Check out ChocolaTree, a local eatery that serves delicious organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes.
They also have a serene garden where you can bask in the Sedona sun while savoring your meal.
After lunch, it’s time to chill out.
Head to one of Sedona’s many spas for a rejuvenating treatment. The Sedona New Day Spa offers a variety of massages, facials, and body treatments.
Once the sun goes down, spend the rest of the day doing some stargazing in Sedona. You can join one of the tours in Sedona
Here, you can gaze at the twinkling stars and infinite galaxies while guided by professional astronomers. It’s a truly humbling and awe-inspiring way to cap off your day of spiritual exploration.
Day 3: Delving into Sedona’s Culture and History
Alright, we’ve reached day three of your Sedona adventure!
Today, we’re steeping ourselves in Sedona’s rich history and vibrant culture.
Start your day at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This charming, Mexican-style village is a hotpot of art, culture, and history. It’s home to a variety of galleries showcasing everything from traditional Native American art to contemporary pieces. Don’t forget to snag some souvenirs!
Raring for more art?
Mosey on over to the Sedona Arts Center. As one of Northern Arizona’s most established cultural organizations, this place offers a wonderful peek into the local art scene. You can even join a workshop if you’re feeling particularly artsy!
Next, step back in time and visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
This architectural marvel, built in 1956, offers breathtaking views of Sedona’s majestic red rocks and the Verde Valley. Its unique design and serene environment make it a must-visit.
After that, it’s time for a taste of the Wild West!
Visit the old mining town of Jerome, which is 39 minutes outside of Sedona. Once the largest copper mining camp in Arizona, it’s now a bustling artistic community with a distinct ghost town charm.
End your last day in Sedona at Elote Cafe for some delicious Mexican cuisine. It’s the perfect way to bid farewell.
And there you have it. Three days in Sedona, filled with stunning landscapes, spiritual insights, cultural immersion, and a history lesson to boot.
Who knew vacations could be so action-packed?
Things to do outside of Sedona
Now, you may be thinking, “I’ve seen all of Sedona in just three days, what now?” Well, there are tons of outdoor experiences waiting just a short drive away from Sedona.
So, get ready to extend your fun-filled itinerary with these exciting activities around Sedona.
Grand Canyon National Park
Now, let’s venture a little beyond the limit of the city of Sedona and have a Grand Canyon day.
Say hello to one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the astounding Grand Canyon National Park. The drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon takes only an hour and a half. This majestic giant beckons with its mind-boggling depths and awe-inspiring vistas. It has been known to make people feel remarkably small, and oddly enough, that’s part of its magic!
While a day trip might not do full justice to this monumental beauty, it will certainly leave you speechless and starry-eyed.
Start by hitting the South Rim, the most accessible part of the park. The jaw-dropping views and the sheer scale of the canyon can be overwhelming, but hey, who doesn’t like a bit of drama, right?
Check out the Visitor Center, pop into the museums, and be sure to walk some (or all, if you’re feeling ambitious!) of the Rim Trail. And if you’re a thrill-seeker, why not soar above the canyon on a helicopter tour?
There’s nothing quite like the Grand Canyon from a bird’s eye view!
If time allows, grab a bite at the historic El Tovar Dining Room.
Perched right on the rim, it offers gourmet cuisine with a generous side of panoramic canyon views. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a meal with a view like that?
Sedona vs Flagstaff is a hotly debated topic.
But when they’re only an hour away from each other, I ask, “Why not both?” You can head up the Oak Creek Canyon Creek Scenic Drive (which is absolutely gorgeous) and be there in no time!
Flagstaff isn’t your average college town; it’s a buzzing hub of culture, history, and tons of outdoor adventures.
Nestled amidst the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world, this city is perfect for nature lovers!
Start your day by taking a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown area. It’s chock-full of charming artisan shops, craft breweries, and eclectic restaurants. You can grab a quick bite at one of the food trucks or sit down for a leisurely meal at a local farm-to-table eatery.
Fan of staring at stars? Sure ya are.
Don’t miss out on the Lowell Observatory. Here, you can take a peek through the telescope that discovered Pluto! That’s not a line someone gets to drop in conversation every day, is it?
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are countless hiking and biking trails in and around the city.
The San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s highest mountain range, offers a variety of trails that range from leisurely walks to challenging hikes. And if you’re visiting in winter, the Arizona Snowbowl becomes a skiers and snowboarders paradise! Be sure to check out the Aspen Loop Trail for a great hike!
Lastly, no visit to Flagstaff would be complete without checking out the Museum of Northern Arizona. This place gives you a detailed insight into the region’s history, art, and Native American heritage.
To sum up, a day trip to Flagstaff provides a nice contrast to Sedona’s red rock landscapes.
So, you’re probably thinking, “What’s this castle doing in the middle of Arizona?”
But it’s not your typical medieval fortress. Montezuma Castle is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America.
Built by the Sinagua people around 700 years ago, this five-story structure nestled 90 feet high in a limestone cliff is a sight you don’t want to miss. And no, Montezuma never lived here. Early settlers misnamed it, thinking it was connected to the famous Aztec emperor.
But, at the time I visited, a ranger mentioned there were talks to rename it using the native language.
Montezuma Castle is a tangible reminder of Arizona’s rich history. It’s a place that allows you to step back in time and experience the world and some of what it was before.
And who doesn’t love a bit of history and culture?
Ready to spend 3 days in Sedona?
So there’s your ultimate guide to spending an unforgettable 3 days in Sedona.
But wait, did I miss your favorite spot? Or maybe you’ve got a hot tip on the best time to visit a certain location?
Don’t keep it to yourself! We’re all friends here, so why not share the love? Drop a comment below and share your personal Sedona advice. Who knows, your tip might just make someone else’s trip even more memorable!
Ultimately, I hope this Sedona itinerary helps make your trip special.
Make the most of it. Happy travels!