Sedona, Arizona. A desert town rich in art, history, red rocks and forests.
In need of a “break” from everyday life post-COVID, I Google searched “Best Quiet trips, USA”. Sedona has a lot of retreats that offer meditation & yoga getaways. It immediately stole my attention! They are also a well-known destination for energy vortices/vortexes. For those who don’t know, a vortex is an energy “center” that is located at specific sites throughout Sedona...Can you say Earth energy?!
I went with a friend for the first time on a vacation together. It was the best four days I have had in a very long time! My friend had been before, but I had not, so being the natural researcher I am, I sent him a list of different things and sites we could see and then we made a “loose” agenda for our time there. I am more of a laid back, let’s just see how we feel type planner for vacations, but let me tell you, we had the best of both while there. More on the agenda later!
Planning ahead let us see what was near where, what the COVID-19 restrictions were (most places didn’t even require masks, but most did require reservations). We were able to see so much, enjoy ourselves, and still manage to relax! We were able to make it to two out of the four well-known vortexes. The star-gazing at night was also phenomenal, HIGHLY recommend! More on these later!
We had a separate packing list, sites to see list, an events list, and a restaurant list based on reviews and recommendations from friends! Again, I have never planned a vacation out like this in my life, but I am obsessed with organization and I will probably not ever go on another trip without one! Our agenda was as follows:
Four Day Agenda:
Departed Houston, arrived in Phoenix, drove to Sedona (highly recommend renting a car), checked-in our hotel, dropped bags/changed, & had dinner at the Mesa Grill (The views, ah, the views! The food was good as well!) Thanks to my cousin, Suzanne, for the rec!
We stayed at Sedona Summit Resort by Diamond Resorts. We compared a lot of hotels and decided on this one. We stayed in a suite that had one bed, one bath, and a balcony. The room was HUGE for a hotel - the size of a small apartment. We even had a nicely sized balcony, where we were able to enjoy several meals! They had quite a few pools on the property, but our favorite spot was the hot tub. It had a very scenic view of the Red Rocks. The views were indescribable!
What wasn’t planned:
During dinner, we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my entire life. The way it hit the red rocks as it disappeared from the sky… Nothing but glorious. Once dinner was over, we parked at the Airport Scenic Lookout and walked up a little hill/mountainside. It had THE best night view of the city.
We also went to downtown Sedona and walked around into a few different shops. If you collect crystals there are SO MANY stores! They have a Whole Foods that we were able to snag some healthy snacks and drinks at for our weekend there, this helped save a little more money for restaurants and wine.
Woke up and hiked to Cathedral Rock, had breakfast at the Coffee Pot (they are a hot spot! Cathedral Rock had a few routes you could take, but we did a shorter one. For all of our hikes, we tried to leave first thing in the morning in order to avoid most of the crowds and the hottest parts of the day! They were still pretty busy though. We got our food to-go and enjoyed it on our hotel balcony. We went back every morning for coffee to-go here.)
We relaxed a little after our hikes and then got dressed to explore the wineries! We went to Paige Springs and DA Ranch. We did a tasting at both, but Paige Springs seemed to be a little smaller and a longer wait. DA Ranch was an actual ranch, had animals (Growing up on a farm, this just seemed really cool to me. Made a donkey friend!) They said they were able to stay open during COVID, but this caused them to have a shortage of wine. Who ever would have thought?? Both places had great wine.
Sunset at Thunder Mountain Trailhead. We had a speaker we brought so we didn’t have to listen to each other talk - just kidding - it added a little more entertainment! We did a shorter trail, but it was just enough to get some really good sunset viewing in! The sky was a little cloudy but during sunset, it reflected iron oxide and the sky looked like it was on LITERAL fire. The houses were so beautiful here. Potential vacation home?!
What wasn’t planned:
We were going to go to a restaurant called Elote for dinner Saturday night, but had read that they were a first come, first serve spot prior to our trip so we did not have a reservation. Our host at Paige Spring broke the news to us, but recommended that we try out a local spot on our way out. “On the Creek”. We managed to get two seats at the bar. If you’re able to go here, YOU HAVE TO GET THE DUCK. The duck is a must!! The bar staff was very attentive and super conversational! They really welcomed us as if we were locals. If you opt-out of renting a car and Uber everywhere, there are a lot of different wine tour companies! This would be a great option if you are looking to indulge in the vino.
Woke up and hiked to Devils Bridge, breakfast, relax, swimming hole possibility, shop downtown/around town, dinner.
Devils Bridge hike - I am not one that enjoys heights, so I made it most of the way, but the last maybe 50 feet, I had to stay behind while my friend went and took pictures! It was reported that the line was hours long! Hours long line + terrified of heights, no thank you! Haha! If you are adventurous, definitely add this on your list. Also, bring snacks and a water bottle, especially for longer hikes. (I have a few items I recommend for this trip here. These protein bars taste like candy bars also!) The views from the top parts of these hikes are seriously indescribable. So beautiful!
The hike was a lot longer than the previous ones, so we didn’t quite make it to the Coffee Pot for breakfast, but we stopped at this quiet, quaint little crepe shop on the way back to our hotel - Sedona Crepes. We tried a few that were delicious, but the Nutella Crepe that we shared for dessert was top of the line! Highly recommend it. It was very fulfilling after that hike!
What wasn’t planned:
We took a little rest after our hike and then had a mid-day venture to the Oak Creek Brewery. I am not a beer drinker, but I am a team player! I actually tried a few and there was an Amber brew I loved - - I even had more than one! We enjoyed them in the beer garden with live music from a local singer. We didn’t have any dinner reservations so we went on Yelp to see where we could find good burgers. We opted out of restaurants with a view and opted more for a focus on the food & found Cafe Jose in a little strip center. I had this burger with avocado and added green chilis - - I dream of going back to have it TWICE more!
One of the highlights of the weekend was STARGAZING!! I love astrology and star-gazing at home, but in the suburbs/city, it was nothing like the openness in the desert. We happened to plan our trip around the time of the Lyrids Meteor shower in April and actually saw a few shooting stars! The telescopes were amazing! They were huge and had digital keypads so you weren’t constantly trying to find what the guide was talking about. My favorite was seeing “Mother of the goats” or maybe I made that up, reference my winery piece. LOL! All about the animals and wine… Really though, the moon seemed to be so close you could see so many details, and it was so bright! My absolute favorite viewing was of a galactic star cluster, WOW.
The dreaded departure. Relax as much as possible, drive back to Phoenix, return our rental car, fly back to Houston.
My friend had work meetings so I woke up, whipped up some leftovers and what was left of our grocery run for breakfast, and spent the morning relaxing. We had a two hour drive to the airport and spent the time reflecting on how wonderful our trip was… And maybe discussing a lot about cryptocurrency. It’s all the rage, maybe it will fund our next trip??
We were fully prepared for our trip and our planning was key! We didn’t get to do everything that we would have liked this trip, but we definitely plan on going back. We had the PERFECT mix of activities and relaxing! Speaking of planning, I have a few items linked here that would be essential for your trip when you book it! I also love interior decorating, so I put together a few desert inspired rooms in case you can’t travel, in order for you can bring the desert to your home!
Sweet Sedona, you will forever have a place in my heart! I can’t wait to go back, enjoy a few more sunsets, Cafe Jose burgers, Coffee Pot Coffee, DA Ranch wine, hiking and most definitely will have to add in some swimming holes!
If you have any questions or recommendations for our next trip or what we did specifically, feel free to ask. I would also love to know if you visit any of these spots and your thoughts!
Happy traveling, y'all!