20 Best Things To Do In Sedona, Arizona


Where Are Those Morgans hiking at sunrise one of the best things to do in Sedona Arizona

Sedona, Arizona has many fun things to do for the whole family, including hiking, driving jeep trails, visiting historical sites and shopping. Some of the most popular attractions include Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross and Airport Mesa. But there’s so much more on offer in this stunning red rock landscape.

In this guide, we show you the 20 best things to do in Sedona, Arizona based on our own experiences.

Our Sedona Experience

Couple standing together next to a maroon colored jeep on red rocks with rocky spires in the background at sunset
Mark, Kristen and Amy (our hired Jeep!) at sunset in Sedona

We spent 8 unforgettable days exploring the very best of Sedona at the end of a road trip from Seattle to Sedona in December 2021. Every day from dawn to dusk we were hiking, photographing sunrises and sunsets, driving jeep trails, finding caves, drinking wine and visiting heritage sites. Read more about us.

To make planning easy for you, we’re listing activities in this guide in order of cost. The first 10 are free and the next 10 come with a price tag ranging from cheap to luxury splurge. Stick around for number 20 because it comes with unexpected benefits.

1. Hiking

Hiker in pink winter coat stood on red rocks with a deep blue sky background
Kristen hiking Little Sugarloaf Trail in Sedona

Sedona has many excellent trails for both beginners and experienced hikers. The rugged red rock canyons and mountains surrounding Sedona are filled with a vast network of interconnected hiking trails. And almost every trail in Sedona leads to a sweeping vista, a secret cave or a photogenic rock formation.

We spent the majority of our time in Sedona hiking popular trails and off the beaten trails. Devils Bridge, Cathedral Rock and Soldier Pass are the top rated hikes according to All Trails, but they’re also the busiest trails. We like Doe Mountain, Pyramid Mountain and Little Sugarloaf because they’re much quieter.

Here are some of the top hikes in Sedona:

Further Reading: The 20 best hikes in Sedona

2. Hidden Caves

Subway Cave on Boynton Canyon is one of the most popular caves to explore in Sedona AZ
Kristen walking through Subway Cave in Boynton Canyon, Sedona

There are 7 hidden caves you can hike to in Sedona. The hikes leading to each Sedona cave vary in difficulty from easy through hard. Subway Cave is the most popular cave for social media, Soldier Pass Cave is the busiest cave and Hideout Cave is the hardest cave to reach.

Birthing Cave, Subway Cave and Keyhole Cave are our favorite caves because they’re the most photogenic. It’s important to remember the principles of leave no trace when finding Sedona’s caves because some are located on unmaintained trails.

Here are the caves you can find in Sedona:

Further Reading: How to find the 7 secret caves in Sedona

3. Sedona Sunrise

Hiker sat on red rocks enjoying serene far reaching sunrise views over Sedona's red rock landscape
Kristen enjoying a serene sunrise over Sedona

Sedona has many famous and lesser known sunrise photo spots. The best way to enjoy Sedona at dawn is by hiking to elevated vantage points. Cathedral Rock and Devils Bridge are the two most popular places to watch the sunrise in Sedona.

We’ve hiked to Cathedral Rock, Doe Mountain, Chimney Rock, Little Sugarloaf and Devils Bridge for sunrise. Waking up early and hiking in the dark sounds like a chore, but it’s worth it for the reward. And it’s the only time of day you can hike Sedona’s trails in relative solitude!

Here are some of our favorite sunrise spots in Sedona:

  • Doe Mountain summit
  • Chimney Rock summit
  • Cathedral Rock summit
  • Red Rock Loop Road
  • Lover’s Knoll

Further Reading: The 15 best Sedona sunrise and sunset photo spots

4. Airport Mesa Sunset

Sunset at Airport Mesa vista in Sedona AZ is one of the best things to do for all visitors
Stunning colors after sunset and Sedona lighting up at night

Airport Mesa is the most popular place to watch sunset in Sedona. It’s split into two areas, the first is a viewpoint at the top of Tabletop Mesa which overlooks downtown Sedona, and the second is Airport Mesa vortex which is located at the bottom of Tabletop Mesa and overlooks Bell Rock. You can drive your car to both viewpoints and you can also hike Sedona View Trail which connects the two by foot.

We paid $3 to park at the upper Airport Mesa viewpoint and hiked Sedona View Trail down to the Airport Mesa vortex. Around 20 minutes before sunset, we hiked back up to the higher viewpoint and enjoyed a stunning sunset over Sedona.

Further Reading: Visiting Airport Mesa at sunset

5. Vortex Sites

Where Are Those Morgans at Boynton Canyon vortex site
Mark and Kristen at Boynton Canyon vortex site

Sedona has several energy vortex sites which are said to radiate energy. The four most powerful vortex sites in Sedona are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon. But there are more lesser known areas of high energy to find.

We visited the four most powerful vortex sites but we also found more serene and peaceful spots around Sedona that are off the beaten path. Pyramid Mountain and Lover’s Knoll are two excellent alternatives on the west side of town.

Further Reading: How to visit the 8 Sedona Vortexes

6. Amitabha Stupa And Peace Park

Statue of Buddha in Amitabha Peace Park popular thing to do in Sedona AZ
Statue of Buddha in Amitabha Peace Park

Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is a spiritual place for meditation at the base of Thunder Mountain in Sedona, Arizona. There’s two Buddhist stupas and a Native American medicine wheel. The park is free to enter and it’s open every day from dawn to dusk.

We enjoyed walking the peaceful grounds of Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. There’s not a huge amount to do on site but it’s a tranquil and calm place to take stock for an hour. It’s important to be respectful and quiet because others are meditating and praying.

Read more about Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.

7. Tlaquepaque Arts And Shopping Village

Drinking coffee walking around Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village in Sedona AZ
Kristen drinking a coffee and walking around Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque arts and shopping village is the best place to shop for jewelry, clothes, pottery, boutique items and gifts in Sedona. You’ll find a maze of alleys and courtyards showcasing intricate stucco walls, cobbled streets and grand arches as you walk around the village.

We visited both halves of Tlaquepaque shopping village (it’s split in two by the highway). The Colonial Spanish architecture is stunning and we enjoyed exploring the 50 unique shops, cafes and restaurants. Because we visited Sedona in December we had the added bonus of Christmas decorations lighting up the village.

Read more about Tlaquepaque Arts And Shopping Village.

8. Scenic Drives

Scenic drive through Sedona's red rock landscape with iconic formations
Scenic Highway 179 heading south from Sedona to the Village of Oak Creek

Sedona has two major scenic drives. The first is Red Rock Loop Road to the west of Sedona, which is quiet and has several excellent viewpoints. The second is Highway 179, which runs between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.

We drove both scenic routes and they’re definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you’re not a big hiker. Highway 179 gets you close to Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. We enjoyed Red Rock Loop Road because there’s a lot of great pullovers with wide open vistas and nobody else around.

9. Chapel Of The Holy Cross

Photo looking up at the concrete structure of Chapel of the Holy Cross built into red rocks with blue sky in the background
The unique Chapel of the Holy Cross from below

Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of Sedona’s most recognizable buildings. The uniquely designed Roman Catholic church was completed in 1956 at a cost of $300,000. Inside you’ll find a 90 ft tall iron cross and tall translucent glass windows.

We visited Chapel of the Holy Cross around 1 hour before dusk so we could enjoy the church interior before watching the sun set over Sedona. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a beautiful building and the far reaching views from its entrance are magnificent.

Read more about Chapel of the Holy Cross.

10. Art Galleries

Walking around spanish style buildings and courtyards in northern Arizona
Kristen walking between art galleries in Tlaquepaque Village

Sedona has many art galleries to explore, including fine arts, paintings, jewelry, antiques, pottery and sculptures. You’ll be spoiled for choice for art in Sedona, whether you’re a collector or simply looking for the perfect gift.

We’re travel photographers, so we found it fun to walk around the art galleries in Uptown and West Sedona. Tlaquepaque is a great place to start, but we also enjoyed browsing the independent galleries like Renee Taylor and Exposures Fine Art.

Here are some of the top galleries in town:

  • Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village (several)
  • Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art
  • Renee Taylor Gallery
  • Bearcloud Art Gallery
  • Sedona Artist Market

11. Mountain Biking

Pyramid Mountain Trail popular mountain biking path
Popular mountain biking trail Pyramid Mountain in west Sedona

Sedona’s rugged red rocks aren’t just great for hiking, they’re also excellent for mountain bikers who enjoy riding adventurous trails. There are various mountain bike trails dotted around Sedona ranging in difficulty from easy to hard.

We didn’t get chance to do any mountain biking on our first visit to Sedona, but we will definitely try it the next time we’re in town. You can rent mountain bikes at Bike & Bean, Absolute Bikes or Thunder Mountain Bikes.

Here are some of the popular places to mountain bike in Sedona:

  • Chicken Point
  • Scorpion / Pyramid Mountain
  • Schnebly Hill Road
  • Chuck Wagon / Mescal

12. Heritage Sites

Honanki heritage site dwellings made of bricks
Remains of historic dwellings at Honanki Heritage Site

The two famous Heritage Sites you can visit in Sedona are called Palatki and Honanki. Palatki Heritage Site is easy to access but it requires advanced reservations and can only be seen as part of a small guided tour lasting 1 hour 30 minutes. Honanki Heritage Site does not require reservations but it can only be accessed by rough gravel roads suitable for 4WD vehicles.

We visited both Heritage Sites so we could see the remains of the largest Sinagua cliff dwellings and rock art sites of the Red Rock Country between 1150-1350. They’re both worth seeing, but Palatki is more extensive and it’s better to learn about the area from a tour guide.

Further Reading: Honanki Heritage Site and Palatki Heritage Site

13. National Monuments

Montezuma Castle National Monument is one of the most popular things to see near Sedona Arizona
Montezuma Castle National Monument near Sedona

Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot are the most famous National Monuments you can visit near Sedona. They’re two of Arizona’s best preserved 1000 year old Sinaguan dwellings. Both are located within 30 minutes drive of Sedona and you can buy a multi ticket entrance for $10.

We enjoyed the uniquely preserved cliff dwelling built into a vertical rock face at Montezuma Castle. The pueblo style village at Tuzigoot is more of a ruin with much of its foundations preserved but it’s still worth seeing. We also visited Montezuma Well which has more dwellings built into a sinkhole filled with water.

Further Reading: Montezuma Castle National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument

14. Verde Valley Wine Trail

Man drinking wine inside a log cabin style winery in northern arizona
Mark sampling wine in one of the Verde Valley Wineries

Sedona is home to the famous Verde Valley Wine Trail, which is comprised of 6 regions and 25 wineries. You can taste delicious reds, whites and roses as you explore quaint towns near Sedona. Take a tour by limo, Jeep or minibus if you’d prefer not to drive so you can indulge in the best wines in the region.

Sampling wines in a famous wine region wasn’t something we were about to pass up on. We stopped in at several wineries over the course of our 8 days in Sedona and we highly recommend you do the same. Mark is big into red wine and Kristen is a rose wine fan, so we were perfectly content!

Here are the 6 areas on Sedona’s Verde Valley Wine Trail:

  • Downtown Sedona
  • Clarkdale
  • Page Springs
  • Cape Verde
  • Jerome
  • Cottonwood

Further Reading: The 25 best Sedona wineries

15. State Parks

Small river rapids inside a gorge with red rocks and green trees on a clear day
River rapids at Slide Rock State Park

The two major state parks to visit in Sedona are Slide Rock State Park and Red Rock State Park. Slide Rock has swimming holes and an 80 ft long natural sandstone slide, which is perfect for cooling off on hot days. Red Rock is a nature preserve and environmental education center that’s perfect for the kids.

We didn’t go to either state park because they both require paid entry, we had an exceptionally busy itinerary and we visited Sedona in December, so the cold waters of Slide Rock State Park weren’t exactly top of our wishlist!

Read more about Slide Rock and Red Rock.

16. Verde Canyon Railroad

Verde Canyon railroad turning a bend over a bridge
Verde Canyon Railroad slowly curving around sandstone rocks

The Verde Canyon Railroad is a 4 hour roundtrip train journey into the Arizona wilderness between Clarkdale and Perkinsville. Tickets cost $109 in spring and fall or $99 in summer and winter. A tasty lunch consisting of meats, cheeses and fruits is included in the price. Read more about tickets.

We enjoyed the train ride as it cut through canyons and towering formations, crossed old wooden bridges and passed through dark tunnels. We recommend you go to an open air carriage and listen as the staff members tell stories and show you interesting rock formations along the route.

Further Reading: How to ride the Verde Canyon Railroad

17. Golf

Green grass of a golf course surrounded by red rocks in northern arizona
Seven Canyons Golf Club in Sedona AZ

Are you a keen golfer? Sedona has 4 golf courses located either on or close to resorts with pools, spas and restaurants. The climate is perfect for year round golfing, so you can pack your clubs no matter when you decide to visit Sedona.

Sedona’s lush green rye grass fairways contrast staggeringly against its surrounding red rock landscape. Views from golf courses might not be as important as your score to par but the views here might go some way to dampening any disappointment!

Here are the 4 golf courses you can play in Sedona:

18. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon taking off at sunrise with red rock background
What a place to take a hot air balloon ride! We took this photo from Doe Mountain summit at sunrise

One of the best luxury splurge activities in Sedona is to book a sunrise flight in a hot air balloon. You’d get an incredible 360 degree view as the sun rises over Sedona’s remarkable landscape. A 1.5 hour Sedona hot air balloon ride will cost around $300 per person.

We didn’t go up in a hot air balloon but we saw them taking off most mornings because we were out hiking to summit viewpoints for sunrise. Next time we’re in Sedona, we’ll definitely be booking a hot air balloon ride.

Book your hot air balloon ride:

  1. Red Rock Balloons
  2. Northern Light Balloon Expeditions

19. Tours

Pink Jeep Tours lined up on a rocky trail at dusk
Three Pink Jeep Tours off-road vehicles lined up on Schnebly Hill Road close to dusk

Sedona has a wide range of exciting tour options including Jeep tours, sightseeing tours and day trip tours. The most popular tours visit vortexes or take you on the famous Jeep trails. Other great tours include guides who can give you interesting information about the local area and tours to the Grand Canyon or Page.

We didn’t take any tours ourselves because we rented a Jeep for 3 days. But if we didn’t rent a Jeep, we would have taken a tour with Pink Jeep Tours instead.

Best tours within Sedona:

Best day trips:

Further Reading: The 18 best Sedona tours

20. Jeep Trails

Maroon Jeep Rubicon parked on a dirt road between trees
Our maroon colored Jeep Rubicon “Amy” from Barlow was a monster!

Sedona has 9 adventurous Jeep trails for off-roading, including Broken Arrow, Schnebly Hill and Diamondback Gulch. You can take a tour of the trails or you can rent a Jeep and drive them yourself. Renting a Jeep is expensive but you can use it to directly access Soldier Pass Trail and Devil’s Bridge Trail on 4WD roads, which is a huge bonus.

Renting a Jeep for 3 days was the best decision we made during our visit to Sedona. The Jeep allowed us to explore beyond the usual 2WD road limits, access the most popular hiking trailheads without worrying about parking and drive the best off-road 4WD trails in Sedona.

Here are our 3 favorite Sedona Jeep trails:

Further Reading: The 9 best Sedona Jeep trails

Sedona Attractions Map

Click or touch the map of Sedona below to activate.

Zoom in and out, move around and tap on the icons to reveal each activity.

Map key:

  • Purple Hiker – Popular hikes
  • Orange Museum – Heritage Sites and National Monuments
  • Red Cave – Best caves to explore
  • Dark Blue Car – Best Jeep trails
  • Yellow Glass – Verde Valley wine trail locations
  • Maroon Camera – Top sunrise and sunset locations
  • Brown Vortex – Major vortex locations
  • Light Green Golfer – Golf courses
  • Dark Grey Car – Scenic drives
  • Dark Green Bike – Mountain bike trails
  • Light Grey Train – Verde Canyon Railroad
  • Turquoise Shopping – Tlaquepaque arts + shopping village
  • Black Tree – Amitabha Stupa + Peace Park
  • Blue Cross – Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Purple Tree – Slide Rock State Park

Top 10 Sedona Experiences

Woman driving Jeep in Sedona Arizona
Kristen driving our Jeep right after sunrise on a cold but sunny December morning

Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross and Devils Bridge Trail are the top 3 things to do in Sedona according to Tripadvisor. When asked by our readers, we prefer to go with a more general approach like hiking, driving Jeep trails and watching sunrises.

But a completely different way to look at what to do in Sedona is to consider experiences rather than activities.

Here are 10 Sedona experiences to add to your bucket list:

  1. Watch a serene sunrise at Little Sugarloaf summit
  2. Hike the iconic Cathedral Rock trail
  3. Drive the awesome Broken Arrow jeep trail
  4. Taste wines on the Verde Valley wine trail
  5. Ride the Verde Canyon Railroad
  6. Watch a colorful sunset at Airport Mesa
  7. Find as many dramatic caves as possible
  8. See the famed Chapel of the Holy Cross
  9. Fly high in a hot air balloon at sunrise
  10. Shop for art and unique souvenirs in Tlaquepaque

In Conclusion

Hiker in winter coat stood on red rocks at sunrise with far reaching valley views behind
Mark enjoying the sunrise over Sedona from Doe Mountain

Sedona has a wide range of attractions to suit most travel styles and preferences. If it’s your first time in Sedona, you should focus on hiking. You’ll need to spend at least 3 full days in Sedona if you want to experience its major highlights.

Our 8 days in Sedona were filled with scenic hikes, thrilling jeep trails, stunning photo spots and unique attractions. It’s one of our favorite vacation spots in the US and we’ll definitely be heading back for more fun in the Arizona sun in the near future.

More From Sedona

More From Arizona

Want more Arizona content? Head over to our Arizona travel guides to explore the best of Grand Canyon, Sedona and beyond.

We hope this best things to do in Sedona guide helps with planning your visit to Arizona!

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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