With an abundance of hiking trails, world-class art galleries, and awe-inspiring natural beauty, there are endless things to see and do in Sedona. But with its convenient location in the heart of Arizona, the city also serves as an ideal base for exploring other destinations.
If you are staying in Sedona and want to visit some of the most incredible places in Arizona—while still being able to retreat to the tranquility of the red rocks after a long day—here are five of the best day trips we’d recommend:
#1: The Grand Canyon
As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a must-see for anyone who visits Arizona. However, staying overnight in or near Grand Canyon National Park can be challenging, as the limited number of hotels tend to fill up quickly and the area often becomes congested with tourists. Staying in Sedona—less than two hours from the Canyon—offers a perfect solution.
If you are interested in seeing the Grand Canyon through a guided tour, El Portal is proud to partner with select tour companies based in Sedona. For instance, our friends at Sedona Philosophy—which provides walking, hiking, driving and yoga tours with a philosophical twist—recently introduced a private driving tour of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Available for groups of up to five people, this unique experience will allow attendees to witness the beauty and grandeur of the Canyon under the guidance of a trained philosopher.
Located just 45 minutes from Sedona, the charming mountain town of Flagstaff features an entirely different climate and landscape due to its 7,000-foot elevation. Emerging from the verdant forests that surround the town, visitors will notice the San Francisco Peaks—towering volcanic mountains that are home to Arizona Snowbowl, a popular skiing destination, and several hiking trails that weave among the ponderosa pines and aspen trees. Other can’t-miss attractions in and around Flagstaff include Lowell Observatory, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and Wupatki National Monument, which contains the 900-year-old, 100-room ancestral Wupatki Pueblo.
#3: Antelope Canyon
Located near Page, AZ, Antelope Canyon is arguably the most famous—and most photographed—slot canyon formation in the world. Created over millions of years of wind and water erosion, Antelope Canyon is admired for its vibrant, undulating sandstone walls that can reach up to 120 feet high. Since both Upper (the more popular destination) and Lower Antelope Canyon are located on private land within the Navajo Nation, guided tours are required, which offer visitors an opportunity to safely explore the Canyon while learning about the area’s history and geology. Although Antelope Canyon is a bit further from Sedona (about three hours driving distance), it is feasible as a day trip if you plan to leave early in the morning.
If you’re seeking a more urban experience, the bustling Phoenix metropolitan area is a short 1.5-hour drive from Sedona. Home to nearly five million residents across Phoenix, Scottsdale, and several other cities, the Valley of the Sun features an endless array of attractions to suit any interest. From award-winning spas and golf courses to museums and the famous Desert Botanical Garden to the vibrant nightlife of Scottsdale, you are sure to find something in the Phoenix area worth making the trek from Sedona.
#5: The rest of the Verde Valley
While Sedona is arguably the star of Arizona’s Verde Valley—or the region surrounding the scenic Verde River—there are many other things to see and do within a quick drive from Sedona. For instance, some of the highlights of this beautiful area include the Verde Valley wine region (which was officially designated as an American Viticultural Area in 2021), Jerome, a historic mining-town-turned-artist-community perched high atop Mingus Mountain, and Cottonwood, home to wine tasting rooms, boutique shops and galleries, Dead Horse Ranch State Park and much more.
No matter your interests, El Portal’s personalized concierge services can help you create an itinerary that makes the most of your time in Sedona. From making recommendations for specific destinations to booking tours and other reservations, we are here to help! To start planning your dream visit to Sedona, call us today at 800-313-0017!
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