There’s no escaping the overwhelming awe one experiences during a visit to Sedona, Arizona. The majestic red sandstone buttes in contrast with a vast blue sky combined with the mystical aura of the region have been a place of wonder since the days of the Wild West.
Today, the cowboys and Indians of the past have been replaced by throngs of tourists eager to experience one of Mother Nature’s most remarkable landscapes. Whether enjoying an exhilarating off-road adventure, exploring many of the area’s hot Vortex spots, shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts in its abundant gift shops and art galleries, or tasting the unique flavors of its many dining options, Sedona has everything necessary for an exciting family vacation.
There are many places to stay during a Sedona vacation, ranging from the small, no-frills motel to the luxury resort and spa. One of our family’s favorites is the quaint L’Auberge De Sedona Resort. Nestled at the bottom of a cliff and situated on the banks of Oak Creek, guests are invited to stay in The Lodge, The Creek House or in a one or two-bedroom private cottage. The cottages, in particular, offer an opportunity for guests to truly experience the natural beauty of the region from their private front porches.
L’Auberge De Sedona is also home to one of our favorite restaurants, the famous Restaurant on Oak Creek. Hugely popular with visitors and locals alike, the restaurant offers an unparallel outdoor dining experience along the trickling creek side. Its seasonal menu of French-inspired American cuisine is an outstanding epicurean treat and its vintage wine selection is superb. Wine Spectator has awarded the restaurant a “Best of Award of Excellence” for 14 years in a row. It’s a “can’t miss” during a Sedona vacation.
A great place to find a variety of dining and shopping options is the nearby Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. It’s always on our list of places to visit. Resembling an authentic Mexican village, Tlaquepaque is an epicenter for the Sedona experience, with eclectic live entertainment, artisans and flavors all in one beautiful, natural setting. If you love Mexican food, a “must try” is El Rincon. Their food is influenced by the Navajo and is “muy delicioso.”
Tlaquepaque is also a great starting point for an off road tour of the area’s majestic landscape. Sedona Off Road Adventures offers Hummer and Jeep tours at the Village as well as from The Adventure Store located in the Uptown Mall. Many tour options are available and the vehicles can accommodate groups of up to 12 at a time and always offer an adrenaline-filled trip. Off road tours are very popular, so reservations are encouraged. Also, don’t forget your camera as the panoramic views are absolutely breathtaking. You’ll want to capture the experience.
Sedona Off Road Adventures, as well as other tour operators, also offer wilderness horseback tours as well as mountain bikes rentals for the extreme outdoor enthusiasts.
While in Sedona, you can also hike the rugged terrain in search of the area’s many purported spiritual Vortices (Vortexes). Sedona has been labeled as a spiritual center for many generations, because power emanates from vortexes producing some of the most remarkable energy on the planet. This energy is the reason why Sedona is home to a lot of people that are “on the path” of spiritual growth. It is also the reason that a large New Age community and tourism industry has sprung up in the Sedona area, bringing with it a variety of spiritual practices and alternative healing modalities. Sedona is now often referred to as a spiritual Disneyland. Popular Vortex spots include Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Schnebly Hill. Maps of these locations can be found at all of Sedona’s New Age shops.
If you do decide to hoof it into the Sedona wilderness, as always, please take proper precautions, like packing plenty of water, a map and a cell phone. You wouldn’t want to become a permanent part of the landscape.
Finally, if the weather’s warm and you need to cool off, take the family over to the famous Slide Rock State Park. There the Oak Creek has transformed the red rocks into a natural, slippery water chute. You can take a ride down the chutes, sunbath, wade or swim in the cool waters. It’s a blast.
Getting To Sedona
Sedona is located approximately 115 miles north of Phoenix. Take Interstate 17 north to Highway 179 west. Travel time is just under two hours. Flagstaff is about 30 miles north of Sedona. The best, and most scenic route to take from there is Highway 89A south. The route will take approximately 45 minutes. And it’s a 288-mile, nearly five hour drive from Las Vegas.
The city also has a small airport (SEZ) accommodating private aircraft and offering charter flight, scenic air tours as well as car and jeep rentals.
Photos courtesy of the City of Sedona, L’Auberge De Sedona, Tlaquepaque Village and Sedona Off Road Adventures.