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Things to do in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona 2007 051 Nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, Sedona, Arizona is truly one of the prettiest cities we have visited. Life in red rock country seems to move at a slower pace, and the city offers great places to relax, shop, view spectacular scenery, and eat. Sedona is a dark sky community which means there is an ordinance against light pollution. On clear summer nights, the Milky Way can be seen arching across the sky from horizon to horizon! By day, the red rock scenery is enchanting, and to make it even better the city averages 278 days of sunshine per year. Sedona is a great year-round destination, but we particularly like to visit during the early fall. Sedona is:

  • An ideal place for a couple’s getaway, girl’s trip, or bachelor/bachelorette weekends.
  • Perfect for a long weekend or extended stay.
  • A hub for several national parks and other attractions.

This 117-mile airport-to-destination road trip starts from the closest major airport located in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix has a large selection of hotels, resorts, RV resorts and campsite options for overnight stays. Attractions in Phoenix include: a zoo, an aquarium, water parks, museums, hiking trails, and golf courses. Click here for more information about accommodations and attractions: Visit Phoenix. Sedona 2007 055

Getting to Sedona

From Phoenix, take I-17 north. Drive time: 2 hours.

Bonus stop: Montezuma Castle National Monument. See an ancient apartment complex tucked high into the side of a cliff. Then drive 5 miles north to see Montezuma Well, a sinkhole fed by natural springs and also surrounded by ancient cliff dwellings. A 7-day pass is $10.00 for adults (which also allows entry to Tuzigoot National Monument) and children 15 and under are admitted free. For additional information, here is a link to the National Park Service website: Montezuma Castle National Monument.

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Montezuma Castle. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Continue on I-17 north to Highway 179 north to Sedona. Note: Highway 179 is Red Rock Scenic Byway, a designated All-American Road, which takes travelers through some of the most picturesque scenery in the country.

Destination: Sedona, Arizona

Sedona 2007 129 The town of Sedona grew up from farm settlements along Oak Creek when the first homesteaders arrived during the mid-1800s. Near the turn of the century, a man by the name of T.C. Schnebly arrived and made his home where the ever-popular Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village sits today. In 1902 the industrious Mr. Schnebly applied for the first post office in the area, and it is his wife, Sedona, for whom the city is named.

Accommodations:

While we can’t list or recommend the numerous hotel options in Sedona, we can say that accommodations in Sedona will cost anywhere from $170.00 per night to over $500.00 per night. From basic rooms at Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express to championship golf resorts and luxurious spas, Sedona has an accommodation for almost everyone’s preference and budget.

Dining:

Meal options can range from inexpensive American fare such as burgers and brews at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill to high-end dining featuring prime meats and seafood at Rene. There is even a McDonalds which finally opened in Sedona after years of negotiation with the city over its famous golden arches. The city said the bright yellow sign did not meet its ordinance which keeps structures and signs from detracting from the natural beauty of the surroundings. Sedona won, and the McDonalds was constructed in a Southwestern motif with turquoise arches. We’ve been told it’s the only McDonalds in the world that doesn’t have golden arches on the building. And while we’re talking about places to eat, be sure to go to the Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits in uptown Sedona and order the cactus fries – you won’t be sorry!

Sedona has long been recognized for having mysterious cosmic forces that seem to emanate from the rocks. The forces are known as vortices. To quote Roger Naylor (RogerNaylor.com), vortices are “…swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy.” While some consider the entire area around Sedona a vortex, certain areas are said to have stronger powers than others. People often ask how many strong vortex sites there are, but the answer depends on who you ask. Some of the most popular higher energy areas are said to include Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, and Courthouse Butte. Visit Sedona and decide for yourself if the vortices really do exist.

Our Top 10 favorite things to do in Sedona:

Sedona 2007 067 1 – Hop on a trolley. Want to take a tour of the city and get some helpful information about the area? Sedona Trolley has you covered with 55-minute tours starting at $23.99 for adults and $15.99 for children 12 and under. Several tour options and times are available. Do this first for the best introduction to the city. Here is a link to the website: Sedona Trolley

2 – Shop. Tlaquepaque (Tuh-lockee-pockee) Arts & Shopping Village is a can’t-miss venue featuring shops, galleries, a chapel, and restaurants. The beautiful courtyard setting has an Old Mexico vibe with plenty of shade trees, colorful flowers, and a bubbling fountain. Visitors will want to spend a few hours strolling through the shops and galleries followed by a relaxing lunch or dinner on the patio at one of Tlaquepaque’s restaurants.

A glimpse inside the Tlaquepaque Chapel. Tlaquepaque is a popular wedding venue.

We recommend spending time in uptown (aka downtown) Sedona too. There are many stores and restaurants that offer a wide range of shopping and dining options. Word of caution: the Merry Christmas Sedona shop may be hazardous to your budget. With so many beautiful things to buy, it’s hard to choose just one – or ten! And don’t forget about the cactus fries and other great food at the Cowboy Club Grill & Spirits.

3 – Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Inspired by the construction of the Empire State Building, Arizona sculptor and rancher, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, commissioned the construction of the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Initially, she sought to build the church in Budapest, Hungary in the 1930s, but with the outbreak of WWII the plans were scrapped. In the early 1950s Senator Barry Goldwater helped Staude get a special use permit to build the church on Coconino National Forest land. The gorgeous church was completed in 1956.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

4 – Enjoy the scenery at Red Rock State Park. If there really is something to that vortices thing in Sedona, then this place might just have it! We experienced peaceful calm – an almost spiritual feeling – at this park. Hike one or all of the trails or simply find solitude along the banks of Oak Creek. This park is also an excellent picnic destination.

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Cathedral Rock as seen from Red Rock State Park

5 – Take a pink jeep tour.  The tour company, known for their signature pink vehicles, can arrange a variety of off-roading adventures, hiking tours, and trips to the Grand Canyon, among other exciting experiences. We highly recommend the 1-day, Grand Canyon tour to the south rim. Here is a link to their website: Pink Adventure Tours.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

6 – Drive through Oak Creek Canyon. Embark on a scenic 14-mile drive on State Route 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona. This is a slow road because of the corkscrew twists and turns, but the scenery will take your breath away! While the northbound drive is beautiful, we recommend driving south from Flagstaff for the best views.

7 – Play at Slide Rock State Park. Visit this scenic park in Oak Creek Canyon featuring a natural rock water slide. Go to play in the water, go to hike, or go for the scenery in this historic park.

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Slide Rock State Park

8 – Gaze at the stars. There are several astronomy tours available in Sedona, and the state parks host them periodically too. Learn about the constellations and take a peek into outer space through their telescopes. We recommend Sedona Star Gazing – Evening Sky Tours. Here’s a link: Evening Sky Tours.

9 – Watch the sun set. We love a great sunset (or sunrise), and Airport Mesa is the place to be in Sedona just before the sun goes down. Here’s one we were lucky enough to capture. Sedona 2007 044

10 – Take a side trip to a national park:

  • Grand Canyon National Park is 2 hours north of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Petrified Forest National Park is 2.5 hours northeast of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Page, Arizona and Lake Powell are 2.75 hours north of Sedona via US Highway 89.
  • Tuzigoot National Monument is 30 minutes southwest of Sedona.
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument is 45 minutes northeast of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Saguaro National Park is 3.5 hours southwest of Sedona via Phoenix and Tucson.

Now that we’ve given you our top 10, we should add that Sedona has so much more than what we’ve covered. There are numerous hiking trails for all levels of hikers, with Cathedral Rock Trail and Devil’s Bridge Trail being two of the favorites. Additionally, climbing and bouldering are popular in Sedona, and guided climbs can be arranged through several companies. ATV rentals and tours are available for those who want to have a little off-roading fun. There are several mountain biking trails as well as motorcycles to rent for wind-in-your-hair rides through the red rocks.

As you can see, Sedona has something to delight every visitor. While we can’t guarantee anything, we’re pretty sure you will love Sedona as much as we do!

*This is an update of an original post from September 22, 2018.

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Click to see more exciting Arizona destinations:

Grand Canyon National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Monument Valley Tribal Park

Thank you for joining us for our recap of Sedona!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022              

Featured

Happy Anniversary To Us!

 

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In celebration of One for the Money Two for the Road’s first anniversary, we want to share some shots from some of our favorite national park posts over the last year. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate each of you for following us on the blog site and on Facebook. You are the reason we post our adventures! Enjoy the recap…

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From our very first post: Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park

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Zion National Park

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Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park

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Bear Lake with Hallett Peak reflection, Rocky Mountain National Park

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Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim at Imperial Point

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The Three Gossips, Arches National Park

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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Canyonlands National Park

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Death Valley National Park

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Bison grazing at Wind Cave National Park

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Badlands National Park

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Monument Valley Tribal Park (Navajo Nation)

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Gifford Barn, Capitol Reef National Park

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The Tepees, Petrified Forest National Park

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

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Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

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Grand Teton National Park

Thank you for joining us over the past year. We hope that you will keep coming back for more fun adventures, tips, and tricks. Oh, and there are sixty-one “national parks” now, and we’ve only covered eighteen of them so far! We will be covering more national parks, national monuments, national historic sites, state parks, awesome camping sites, and some great cities during year two. We’re also going to give you some helpful tips on RVing and road tripping. You won’t want to miss a post, so sign up, buckle up, and let’s go. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a national park!) 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Vintage motel in Delta, Colorado

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First Stop: Cameron Trading Post

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Cameron Trading Post

Where in the world is it?

It is located in Cameron, Arizona, which is about 51 miles north of Flagstaff, at the intersection of US Highway 89 and Arizona Highway 64, and east of the Grand Canyon. The trading post was established in 1916 by two brothers named Hubert and C.D. Richardson.

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The Cameron Suspension Bridge

The Cameron Suspension Bridge, above, opened in 1911 and spans the Little Colorado River Gorge. This bridge allowed faster, safer travel to what is now the town of Cameron, Arizona. The Richardson brothers built Cameron Trading Post next to the bridge where it still sits and thrives today. No longer in use, the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Little Colorado River Gorge west of Cameron, Arizona

Second Stop: Helena, Montana

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The Beautiful Montana Capitol

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Herd Bull Sculpture at the Montana Historical Society

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It’s a fact, Jack!

Arizona produces more than half of the copper in the US, making it the largest copper producing state. Montana is the fifth largest copper producing state in the US. At one time, the nation’s largest amount of copper was mined at Butte, Montana. One Montana resident, William A. Clark, became one of the wealthiest men in the US because of his copper mining interests, among other businesses, and was considered one of the three “Copper Kings” of Butte. His mansion there still stands today, although, it is now a bed and breakfast. Clarkdale, Arizona is four miles southwest of of the town of Jerome, Arizona. Jerome, a National Historic Landmark, is the home of the now-defunct United Verde Mine, once one of the largest copper producing mines in the US. United Verde Copper Company, which was owned by William A. Clark, developed the United Verde Mine. Clarkdale, Arizona is named for William A. Clark. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our Quick Stop tour of the Cameron Trading Post and Helena, Montana. We invite you to return to our site every week for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

Grand Canyon National Park

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  • Website link: Grand Canyon National Park.
  • Cost: $35.00 per car
  • Accommodations in the park: Lodges at the north and south rims. Campgrounds at the north and south rims.
  • Backcountry camping available.
  • Mule trips available at both rims.
  • Day hiking and many longer trails available.
  • Commercial and non-commercial river rafting trips available.
  • Restaurants, deli’s, stores available at both rims.
  • When to go: South Rim – anytime. North Rim is closed during the winter months.

For years, we shied away from Grand Canyon National Park. “Who wants to look at a big hole?” we would say, but then while on another trip, we decided to go. We arrived at the South Rim and were terribly disappointed when our first view was of…nothing! Zip, zilch, nada – no big hole at all! Turns out the canyon was experiencing a fairly rare weather phenomenon called an inversion. The entire canyon was full of gray clouds, which is kind of great now that we know we have witnessed a rare phenomenon, but it was disappointing at the time.

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Yep, this ↑ was our first ever view of the Grand Canyon. And to make matters worse, we were not prepared for high wind and torrential rain! (We are much better prepared travelers now, thankfully.) Finally, the storm blew past, the sun came out, and our trip was saved. Once we saw the breathtaking scenery, we couldn’t believe that we had been so stubborn about going. The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Everyone should see this park.

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Getting There

Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) is approximately:

230 miles from Phoenix, Arizona280 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada410 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico

We are starting our trip in Phoenix, Arizona. Stock up on your road snacks, and let’s get going!

*Recommended hotels in Phoenix: Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn.

From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Flagstaff.

Bonus stop: Sedona, Arizona. Beautiful red rock scenery, lots to see and do. Great city to visit! (See our post about Sedona.)

At Flagstaff, take US Highway 180 to Highway 64. Take Highway 64 north to Grand Canyon National Park. Drive time between Phoenix, Arizona and Grand Canyon National Park: 3.75 hours.

⇒Alternate route: take a two hour and fifteen minute train from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim. The train leaves Williams daily at 9:30 am.

Destination: Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim)

All of the roads on the south rim can be driven in your own vehicle, however, it is so much better for you (and for the park) to take the free hop-on hop-off shuttles. There is so much to see and do in this part of the park, you could stay for days and never see it all. With that said, we are only going to to be able to give you a taste of what you will see at the south rim.

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Hopi House at Grand Canyon Village (South Rim). Originally a workshop for making and selling Native American arts and crafts. Built in 1905.

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Historic El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon Village (South Rim). Wonderful food in the dining room here. Opened in 1905 as a Harvey House, and is now a National Historic Landmark.

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View of the Colorado River meandering through the Grand Canyon

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Desert View Watchtower (South Rim)

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Ceiling Artwork In Desert View Watchtower

While visiting (or before you go), you may want to learn about Mary Colter. She is the architect who designed many of the historic buildings at the South Rim, including Hopi House and Desert View Watchtower, among others. Her story is extremely inspirational, especially for young women and girls, as Mary Colter was a woman who was decades ahead of her time. While you’re at it, pick up a copy of The Harvey Girls – Women Who Opened the West, a wonderful book by Lesley Poling-Kempes. The book tells the story of the women who for years catered to travelers in many historic locations, including El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park. Very interesting read.

Now, let’s go to the the North Rim!

Getting There

The North Rim is approximately:

123 miles from Page, Arizona210 miles from the South Rim265 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada

We will start this trip from Page, Arizona since it is the closest city with an airport, though it is a small municipal airport with mainly tour and commuter type services.

*Recommended hotel in Page: Hampton Inn.

*Recommended restaurant in Page: El Tapatio – 25 S Lake Powell Blvd.

Campgrounds available in and around Page.

Travel tip: While in Page, check out the many activities this area has to offer, including Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam, or take a side trip to Monument Valley.

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Bison near the North Rim entrance

From Page, take US Highway 89 south for 2 miles. Bonus stop: Horseshoe Bend. Hike to the scenic viewpoint above the Colorado River for a breathtaking view. Be prepared for parking issues, large crowds, and high heat. Take water and good hiking shoes/boots.

Continue on US Highway 89 for 39 miles to Navajo Bridge. This is a very scenic drive to Marble Canyon, Navajo Bridge, and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.

Bonus stop: Navajo Bridge/Marble Canyon. Stop at the interpretive center for information about the area. The original Navajo Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. Look for rare California condors along the Colorado River in beautiful Marble Canyon.

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Navajo Bridge and Vermillion Cliffs

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Marble Canyon view of the Colorado River from Navajo Bridge

Continue on US Highway 89 to Highway 67. Turn south at Jacob Lake, Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park. Drive time between Page, Arizona and North Rim: 2.5 hours. Drive time between Jacob Lake, Arizona and North Rim: 1 hour.

  • North Rim Website link: North Rim Grand Canyon.
  • Cost: $35.00 per car.
  • Accommodations: Grand Canyon Lodge and one campground located inside park.
  • Alternative camping available outside the park
  • Dining services available in the park.
  • North Rim has fewer crowds than South Rim.
  • When to go: May through October.

Destination: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)

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Stop at the visitor center for information about the park, then head to the patio at the Grand Canyon Lodge for exceptional views of the canyon. You might even get up close and personal with a cute little chipmunk, but remember: it is illegal to feed any wildlife.

Hike the trail to Bright Angel Point for the spectacular views. Or, drive the park roads to the other viewpoints at the North Rim. See the park map at the website link above.

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North Rim View

 

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View from Point Imperial (North Rim)

With everything there is to do and see at Grand Canyon National Park, it is easy to see why more than five million people visit the park annually. If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, we hope that you are now inspired to go see this amazing park. (Don’t be like we were and keep putting it off.) This is a fantastic vacation destination for the entire family! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye  

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018