It was another gorgeous day, clear blue skies, perfect desert temperatures, the open road before us… “Keep your eyes open now, just up here you’re going to see it…”
We rounded the curve and there it was, Bell Rock. A magnificent sight as you make your way into Sedona, Arizona on Highway 179, Bell Rock is just the beginning of the stunning landscape you’re about to witness. This giant red rock formation looks like a bell rising out of the desert floor.
I had already been to Sedona with my parents when I was younger so I knew what to expect. I was excited to show my husband what I believe to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. I wanted to see the awe on his face as he took it all in…
Unfortunately, the awe was minimized simply because we were visiting on a gorgeous spring day, on the weekend. Sedona is very busy during peak times, spring through fall and especially so on the weekends. The traffic was ridiculous. My husband had to concentrate so much on the cars around us that he wasn’t able to get the full effect of the landscape. I was disappointed to have to share the space with the hoards of people who had the same idea, however, the experience wasn’t ruined. No matter how many people show up, the view never changes. It really is one of the most picturesque places in the country. In order to get the full enjoyment out of it, plan your trip outside of peak times, either the middle of the week or the new year winter months. There is a lot to do and see and it will be much easier when it isn’t quite so busy. If all you have time for is the drive through and maybe lunch or dinner, I still highly encourage it. You won’t soon forget the views and there are some amazing restaurants. For instance, stop in at Hideaway House and opt to sit on the porch. With a stunning backdrop you can enjoy a grilled peach pizza, the specialty of the house, and relax. Take time to soak it all in.
The first stop you’ll want to make is at the Visitor Center. No matter what you’re in town for, they will have the info for you. Not only are there plenty of brochures and maps, the knowledgeable staff can also be very helpful. You can even find coupons for Hideaway House!
If you plan on hiking in Sedona, I suggest checking the different trail websites (AllTrails, hikesedona, sedonahikingtrails) for detailed information. Some trailheads require paid passes in order to hike. Don’t be caught unprepared. Make sure you have all required passes as well as plenty of water and sunscreen.
Tours abound here, tours of all sorts. There are Segway tours, Jeep tours, walking tours and even helicopter and balloon tours. While they can be quite pricey, if you plan ahead and save up, these are going to be once in a lifetime type experiences. If you don’t want to add a tour into the budget, you can still have an amazing experience.
There is an abundance of shopping in Sedona if that’s your thing. You will find a bit of everything. Be careful not to bust your budget with your spending; it would be quite easy to do. From southwest decor to clothing to souvenirs, they have it all.
If you plan to stay, I would suggest finding a hotel in nearby Historic Cottonwood. It is only a few scenic miles away and much less congested and a bit cheaper. Check out The Iron Horse Inn for example. It’s right on Main Street, within walking distance to shops, restaurants and wine tasting. It is clean and the staff is friendly. Staying in Cottonwood and visiting Sedona on say a Tuesday, would be ideal. There are some fun places to visit as well, including a great antique store.
Sedona should be a bucket list destination for anyone that loves amazing scenery and fascinating history. It’s the desert at it’s best. Start planning your adventure today, the wide open road is calling…