Although Sedona is a good two-and-a-half hour drive from Phoenix, tourists and locals alike have been making the trip to the red rock mecca for years. There is no shortage of things to do in Sedona considering its wide expanses of land are breathtaking no matter how you see them—by car, by bike, or even by hiking up one of its beloved trails. (Pro tip: Pack some bug spray.) It's long been a retreat for those wanting to get away, channel something higher, or maybe even find themselves.
With everything from experiencing a real-life vortex of transformational energy to receiving a life-changing massage to getting sound healing at a yoga retreat, or even just feeling a bit insignificant surrounded by nature, this Southwestern city is so charming it deserves a top spot on your bucket list. Come for the ride as we take you through the top 10 things to do in Sedona from the mystic to the just plain magnificent. Now get planning because we've heard the area just so happens to be next-level beautiful in the fall.
Experience a real-life vortex.
Apparently, the whole city of Sedona is considered a vortex—a transformational energy center where some believe you can increase your own personal spiritual energy. However, there are specific spots that have higher levels of energy that can bring you to self-awareness or even healing of different kinds. There are four popular vortexes—Cathedral Rock, Airport, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon. If you’re up for a bit of a challenging hike, head up the Vista Trail to Boynton Canyon (you can’t miss the red markers) until you get to a 30-foot high hill where the energy is strongest. The view (and vibes) will be worth it.
Get your "om" on at Sedona Ranch.
Yoga is synonymous with Sedona, so it's a must for any yogi to practice there. What's even better is immersing yourself in a four-day retreat at Sedona Ranch led by Fernanda Durlene. You can expect acupuncture, reiki or sound healing, a sage clearing, a tour to Shaman's cave, journaling, soul coaching, and, of course—lots of yoga.
Go for a slide down Slide Rock.
A visit to Slide Rock is an absolute necessity on your excursion to Sedona, especially if you're the adventurous type. Technically, this landmark is a "slide" made out of red rocks carved into Oak Creek in a canyon seven miles north of Sedona itself. Go for a dip and "slide" on the rocks—the algae at the bottom will really make you move. When you're done in the water, head next door to the cutest of apple orchards. If you visit in late August or September, you may just be able to pick some of your own fruit.
Take the reins at M Diamond Ranch.
In case you've forgotten, you're out west, so one of the best ways to explore the landscape is actually on horseback. For a real deal horse farm, visit the family-run M Diamond Ranch; it's more than 100 years old. You can choose from a one- to three-hour trail rides based on your horseback-riding experience and time constraints. Pro tip: If you choose the sunset option, it comes with a tasty cowboy cookout on the ranch (one of the top things to do in Sedona, naturally).
Check in to Adobe Grand Villas.
Whether it's a girls' trip or a romantic getaway, the luxurious Adobe Grand Villas are the perfect place to rest your head after a long day. You'll arrive to your own personal villa to the smell of freshly baked bread—you can even ask for gluten-free—plus a fireplace for cozying up with a glass of wine. Opt for the private dine-in service with Chef Michael, and trust us, the meal will not disappoint.
Book a treatment at L'Apothecary Spa.
Heading to Sedona without experiencing one of its healing massages is actually unheard of. L'Apothecary Spa in the L'Auberge de Sedona hotel (more on that later) offers unique experiences like Forest Bathing, which involves resting your feet in the creek to reap nature's benefits. But perhaps our favorite part is the lobby of the spa that's inspired by an old apothecary shop where you can custom blend your own shower and bath products from traditional local ingredients and then take them home with you.
Cliff dive at Grasshopper Point.
This is one of those "when in Sedona" moments. Carve out time to visit this iconic swimming hole at the base of Oak Creek Canyon. If you're on the adventurous side, you can dive from the cliffs right into the water. Otherwise, just feel free to take a dip (and a must-needed Instagram photo among the scenery). If you're not rushing to your next destination, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the nearby rocks.
See the pictographs at the Palatki Ruins.
If you're intrigued by history, then a stop at the Palatki Ruins is not to be missed. This historical site is actually made up of cliff dwellings from AD 1150 to 1350. There are three different trails you can hike, but it's absolutely necessary to take the route to see the rock pictographs. They were created by various people who lived in Verde Valley many years ago, and it's so impressive. Be sure to book a guided tour in advance since they tend to get full quickly.
Dine al fresco at L'Auberge.
Yes, L'Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa is a triple threat: It's a hotel, a spa (mentioned above), and an award-winning restaurant. Come for a farm-to-table dinner served alfresco near a picturesque creek (we're not sure what's more impressive—the food or the view). If you don't have to rise early the next day, opt for the menu's handpicked wine pairings.
Catch the sunset's reflection on Boynton Canyon.
Catching the sunset is like a sport in Sedona. With the light going down and the red hue of the rocks all around, there are few things more beautiful. Why not enjoy the view with a cocktail in hand at Che Ah Chi restaurant at the Enchantment Resort? Here you're not actually seeing the direct sunlight, but its reflection on Boynton Canyon. Head to the patio early to find a seat because plenty a passerby will have the same idea you do. ■
Now that you've seen all the things to do in Sedona, it's time to start planning. You won't regret adding this hip destination to your bucket list.