Make Plans for a Sedona Staycation!

“Staycation” has become a popular buzzword in the past several years & the concept has never been more important to Arizona.  A staycation is a chance for you to become more familiar with your town, your county, your state.  It gives you a chance to play tourist without getting on a plane, hiring a dog sitter or arranging to have your mail delivery stopped.  Most importantly, it is a chance to keep your money where your home is, right here in Arizona.

Our state’s unique terrain, outstanding amenities, and world class lodging have rocketed the state to the top of people’s travel destination lists for decades.  If you are a resident, you have an amazing playground to explore – historic hotels, unique cultural monuments, awe inspiring geography.  Arizona is home to renowned locally owned restaurants, shops and hotels that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.


Whether it’s a day trip to Arizona’s wine country or a weeklong adventure in the Grand Canyon, by exploring Arizona you are supporting our state and making sure that amenities such as our parks, libraries and senior centers are funded and that businesses in rural and urban communities are stable.  Local First Arizona loves to highlight our favorite Arizona travel spots, focusing on showcasing locally owned hotels, restaurants, shops & attractions.

One of our favorite vacation spots in Arizona is, of course, an international favorite... Sedona. Check out all the amazing things to do in Sedona, and the surrounding Verde Valley, and make plans to visit soon!

Sedona History

Sedona’s early residents were farmers and horse and cattle ranchers.  Orchards along Oak Creek provided fruit to residents of Phoenix, Cottonwood and Los Angeles.  Sedona’s red rocks have made it a popular spot for movie producers through the years, with many films being shot in the town including the 1949 John Wayne movie Tall in the Saddle and 1989 indie film Dead Man.  Today Sedona is a popular artist community & tourism hub.


Amazing Sunsets: Watching the sunset in Sedona is a spiritual experience. Some of the best places to take in the view are just off the main highways. Check out Airport Mesa Overlook at 235 Air Terminal Drive, or visit the beautiful Fay Canyon on Boynton Pass Road (both in West Sedona) for views of red rock majesty in West Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek as the sun sets.

Highway 89A and Oak Creek Canyon: This is perhaps one of the most scenic stretches of road in the state. The road has been freshly paved, as of June 2014, and is back open and is now easy to travel. From Uptown Sedona, continue on 89A to Oak Creek Canyon for a beautiful, tree-covered canopy that brings you past amazing Oak Creek and up the plateau toward Flagstaff. Some campgrounds and hiking spots will be closed for a few weeks this summer due the Slide Fire and flooding, but many are open and most private businesses will be open. Coconino National Forest's closure is likely to last until the monsoon season ends.

What will be open

• Encinoso Picnic Site.

• Grasshopper Point.

• Lodgings, businesses, homes and vacation cabins.

• Midgley Bridge parking area.

• Slide Rock State Park (swimming area is closed).

• Rainbow Trout Farm.

Here's a list of what will be closed:

• A.B. Young Trail #100.

• Banjo Bill Picnic Site.

• Bootlegger Picnic Area.

• Call of the Canyon Day-Use Area.

• Cave Springs Campground.

• Halfway Picnic Site.

• Pine Flat Campground.

• West Fork Trail #108.

Remember, safety is first, but there are still lots of opportunities to get to Sedona's most loved recreation areas. For complete details about the closures call 928-203-7500 or visit


Chapel of the Holy Cross was built in 1956 by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staube. This impressive chapel appears to rise out of the rocks and is one of the most peaceful places in town.  Open to visitors year round, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Located at 780 Chapel Rd.

Slide Rock State Park began as an apple orchard in the early 1900’s.  Today it is a popular cooling off spot which features an eighty foot natural water slide down the smooth rocks in Oak Creek.  Open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. through Labor Day, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. in September, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. October through April.  Located on Highway 89A, north of town. Though the swimming area will be closed, Slide Rock State Park is currently open and will be open all summer long!

Red Rock State Park: A 286 acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery, Red Rock State Park's trails meander the park through manzanita and juniper to reach the rich banks of Oak Creek. Green meadows are framed by native vegetation and hills of red rock. The creek meanders through the park, creating a diverse riparian habitat abounding with plants and wildlife. This riparian habitat provides the setting and the opportunity for the park to offer a focus on environmental education. Check out their moonlight hikes and lecture series! The park is open 7 days a week from 8 am – 5 pm. Last entry at 4:30 pm. The Visitor Center is open 9 am – 4:30 pm daily.

Garlands MarketGarland's Indian Gardens Cafe & Market: No trip to Oak Creek Canyon is complete without stopping at Indian Gardens. Built in 1947 to meet the needs of a growing community in the canyon, Indian Gardens has served many purposes - general store, gas station, bar, ice cream parlor, antique store, sandwich shop, to name a few - but it has always been a welcome gathering place for residents and a restful, refueling stop for visitors.  The cafe serves delicious breakfast and lunch, using quality ingredients, organic and locally-sourced when possible. The market offers picnicking supplies, snacks, beverages, gourmet and local foods, fishing and camping supplies, handmade gifts, and just enough of the basics to get you through.  It's a perfect stop for hikers, campers, day-trippers, and locals alike. 

Upcoming events: For a full list of upcoming events in Sedona, visit the Sedona Chamber of Commerce's website 

4th of July Laser Light Show & ConcertOn July 4, from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m., Free. Red Rock High School, Baseball field. Brought to you by Diamond Resorts International and Sedona Parks and Recreation. Free concert and great food vendors on site, patriotic laser show.

Fiesta del Tlaquepaque:  Sedona’s beautiful shopping village, Tlaquepaque, is transformed into Old Mexico to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.  Strolling Mariachis provide the soundtrack for the day while Flamenco dancers perform colorful shows.  There are plenty of activities for the kids and plenty of Mexican cuisine to savor.  September 13th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Held at 336 Hwy 179.  Admission is free.

Sedona Arts Festival: Browse through art in a variety of mediums, from painting and photography to jewelry and fiber arts, being shown by artists from across the country.  The KidZone offers a place for budding Picassos to show off their stuff.  Saturday, October 9th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 10th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Held at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.  Adult entry is $10, Seniors/Students are $9 and children 12 and under are free.

1st Fridays Art Walk: Gallery hop on the first Friday of every month.  Free shuttles transport visitors to Sedona galleries which offer food, drink and the chance to discuss art, often times with the artists themselves.

The Sedona MarathonRun, walk or stroll through the red rocks.  Categories include full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K.  The race is held on January 31st, 2015 and will start at the Sedona Cultural Park.

Annual Sedona Film FestivalOver 140 indie films will be shown during this weeklong festival.  Academy Award winning filmmakers attend and lead workshops and lectures.  This year’s Special Guest is documentary veteran Michael Moore.  Held the last week of February.  Held at Harkins Theatres and other locations throughout the city.


Places to stay

Briar Patch Inn – Enjoy fishing in Oak Creek, swimming in private water holes, hiking or simply relaxing in nature in any of the quaint cabins at Briar Patch Inn.  Cabins start at $219/night.  Located at 3190 N. Hwy 89A, 928.282.2342

Canyon Wren Cabins –These cozy cabins in Oak Creek Canyon are the perfect place to spend a weekend, bed and breakfast style.  Cabins start at $155/night.  Located at 6425 N. Hwy 89A, 928.282.6900 or 800.437.9736

Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge – To truly escape from the real world (i.e. telephones and TVs), stay at one of Garland’s sixteen cabins.  Located on 10 tranquil acres in Oak Creek Canyon, you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation, an apple orchard and nearby Oak Creek.  Cabins range from $245 - $295/night which includes breakfast and dinner.  Located 8 miles north of Sedona on Hwy 89A, 928.282.3343

Forest Houses Resort –Seventeen unique houses available for rent in upper Oak Creek Canyon.  Guests enjoy nearby hiking trails, fishing in Oak Creek and peaceful lounging.  Houses start at $95/night.  Located at 9275 N. Hwy 89A, 928.282.2999

Matterhorn Inn – For visitors who like to stay close to town, the Matterhorn Inn is steps away from shops and restaurants.  Room rates available on request.  Located at 230 Apple Rd, 928.282.7176

Sky Ranch Lodge – Rooms at this lodge offer up some of the best views of Sedona, as it is located 500 feet above the center of town.   Room rates available on request.  Located at 1105 Airport Rd, 928.282.6400 or 888.708.6400

Places to eat

Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen – Good-for-you pizzas, pastas and salads made with fresh, local ingredients.  Open for lunch and dinner.  Located at 1855 W. Hwy 89A, 928.282.4140

Elote Café – Chef Jeff Smedstad serves some of the best traditional Mexican cuisine in the state, using locally grown and sustainable ingredients.  Open for dinner.  Located at 771 Hwy 179, 928.203.0105

Oak Creek Brewery & Grill – Wash down delicious pub fare with some of Oak Creek Brewery’s award winning beers.  Open for lunch and dinner.  Located in Tlaquepaque Village, 336 Hwy 179, 928.282.3300

Desert Flour Bakery & Bistro – Fresh bread, pastries and desserts as well as breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and pizza.  Open for breakfast and lunch.  Located at 6446 Hwy 179, 928.284.4633

Dahl & DiLuca – Featuring Italian cuisine, this renowned restaurant is a consistent award winner and one of the most romantic restaurants in Sedona.  Open for dinner.  Located at 2321 W. Hwy 89A, 928.282.5219

Cucina Rustica – The sister restaurant of Dahl & DiLuca, featuring Mediterranean cuisine and dining indoors or al fresco on one of the best patios in town.  Open for dinner.  Located at 7000 Hwy 179, NW, Suite 126 A, 928.284.3010

Heartline Café – This innovative restaurant ranks highly with vegetarians and carnivores alike.  Be sure to stop at neighboring Heartline Market to shop for gourmet food items.  Open for dinner.  Located at 1610 W. Hwy 89A, 928.282.0785

Places to shop

Turquoise Tortoise Gallery – One of Sedona’s oldest galleries showcasing Native American art and jewelry as well as Contemporary Southwest art.  Located at 431 Hwy 179, 928.282.2262

The Well Read Coyote – This indie bookstore has a wide selection of titles and hosts readings and workshops.  Open Mon – Sat from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sun from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Located at 3190 W. Hwy 89A, Ste 400, 928.282.2284

Mexidona Imports – Unique furnishings, gifts and folk art from villages in Mexico.  Open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Located at 1670 W. Hwy 89A, 928.282.0858

The Hike House – Not only does this shop have shoes, clothes and gear for beginning to expert hikers, they also hold free classes on hiking preparedness and compass navigation.   Located at 431 Hwy 179 #B-1, 928.282.5820

Cucina Sedona – Southwest inspired items for the kitchen, including glassware, linens, kitchen utensils and cookbooks.  Located in Tlaquepaque, 336 Hwy 179, Suite D-101, 928.282.3905

Places to enjoy

SedonaNewDay_DesertNatureSedona New Day Spa - Voted Sedona's best day spa year after year, and now in a new location, this private retreat has outdoor gardens, hot tub and fountains. They offer a unique menu of Desert Nature Body Treatments and Native American inspired Spa Rituals, restorative facials and a full nail service.

Pink Jeep Tours – Hit the dirt trails and red rocks for an off road adventure.  Choose from a variety of tours focusing on Native American history and culture, nature and geology.  Open year round, reservations recommended.  800. 873.3662

Sedona Arts Center – Sedona artists showcase and sell their works in this converted apple packing barn.  Workshops and classes are offered also.  Art Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 928.282.3865

M Diamond Ranch - This 100 year old working cattle ranch just outside of Sedona offers horseback tours of the high country.  Choose between a one hour ride or a combination trail ride and cookout.  Times vary by season, reservations required.  928.300.6466

Avg high & low temperatures

August – High 93, Low 64

September – High 88, Low 58

October – High 78, Low 49

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