View of the town of sedona with red rocks in the background

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Top Things To Do In Sedona Besides Hiking 2024

Sedona is a truly enchanting and mystical location, also known as one of the premier outdoor hiking destinations in the world. However, there may be times when you feel like doing something different. Sedona has a wide range of activities to offer, catering to outdoor enthusiasts and cultural explorers. These activities include tours, scenic drives, shopping, dining, and more. Here is a comprehensive list of the top things to do in Sedona, Arizona, besides hiking. The best part is that many of these fun things to do are also completely free things as well.

1. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross
View up tot he Chapel of the Holy Cross from the base of the red rocks
Chapel of the Holy Cross

Sedona, Arizona, is home to a remarkable architectural masterpiece known as the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This church is a true gem and one of only two in the United States to be featured in the highly esteemed Top 10 Most Beautiful Churches list by Architectural Digest. The Chapel of the Holy Cross stands tall and proud amidst the breathtaking red rock terrain, making it a stunning sight to behold.

It is nestled in a residential neighborhood just outside the town of Sedona. World War II halted the plan, initially designed by architect Marguerite Brunswig Staude for construction in Budapest. In 1955 it was built in the red rocks of Sedona. The view out of the massive glass wall from inside the Chapel will take your breath away. Open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

2. Take A Jeep Tour

Exploring Sedona through a Jeep tour is an absolute must-do! It’s the most popular tour in town, offering a 4WD adventure that takes you off the main roads and into the stunning red rocks. You’ll experience a unique perspective that’s normally only achievable through hiking. It’s like riding a rollercoaster through a picturesque landscape. Although the ride may be a bit bumpy, the breathtaking views make it all worth it. This activity is suitable for everyone, and you’ll get to explore some of Sedona’s iconic areas, including Mogollon Rim, Schnebly Hill Road, Coconino National Forest, Bear Wallow Canyon, and Merry-Go-Round Rock.

Be sure to book your tour beforehand; they do book up. One of the most famous options is Pink Jeep Tours; you will see their Jeeps everywhere in Sedona. But there are other options, so check a few out before booking. The best time to do a Jeep tour is during the early part of the day since the desert heat can be overwhelming later.

Pink jeep riding on dirt road among Sedona red rocks
Off-Road Pink Jeep Tour
3. Take A 4WD Drive

Thinking a group tour is not your thing? You can experience some of the more remote spots on your own by renting a 4WD vehicle. A must-try is Schnebly Hill Road. An easy route that will take a few hours to complete. Only try these drives with a proper off-road vehicle; otherwise, you and your rental car will regret it.

4. Wineries of the Verde Valley Wine Trail

When people think of Sedona, wineries may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, it is worth noting that the area is situated in a highly favorable location. Specifically, it rests above the scorching desert heat but below the chilling coldness of higher elevations.

There are several wineries to choose from in Sedona, but most are located in Cottonwood, Clarkdale, and along Page Spring Road. Cottonwood is approximately 19 miles away from Sedona. If you’re looking for a great wine-tasting experience, Page Spring Cellars is definitely worth a visit. They have some fantastic wines to offer, and the location is simply breathtaking. Other great options in the area include Javelina Leap and Oak Creek Vineyards. Also, check out the Arizona Stronghold Tasting Room, Burning Trees Cellars, Winery 101, and Alcantara Vineyard. Many of these wineries are situated in the beautiful desert landscape, with stunning views all around. If you want to cap off your day on the wine trail, you can’t go wrong with dinner at Merkin Vineyards Osteria.

5. Sedona Arts Center

The Sedona Arts Center is located in the heart of uptown Sedona, offering easy access to many shops and restaurants. Within the Center, the Fine Art Gallery boasts an impressive collection of artwork crafted by talented local artists, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to purchase breathtaking art, photography, or locally handcrafted jewelry. Visitors can also find unique souvenirs to commemorate their unforgettable trip to Sedona. Furthermore, the Arts Center is a must-visit destination for enthusiasts interested in the vibrant local arts scene. Open seven days a week, from Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday, 12 – 5 pm, there is no better place to explore and indulge in the local arts culture.

The Center hosts special events, including the Sedona Plein Air Festival, held annually in October. This excellent community event allows you to interact with local artists and contribute to the Sedona arts community.

6. Take A Scenic Drive

Embark on a captivating drive along the Red Rock Scenic Byway, a picturesque 8-mile route showcasing the best of Sedona. This breathtakingly beautiful route offers numerous opportunities to stop, capture stunning pictures, and fully appreciate the natural magnificence of the desert landscape. Plan on dedicating approximately 2 hours to this drive, depending on the number of stops you make, so that you can relish the awe-inspiring views of the magnificent red rock formations, including the majestic Castle Rock, the world-renowned Bell Rock, the impressive Courthouse Butte, and the towering Lee Mountain.

Two lane road through Arizona red rocks
Drive Through Red Rocks

Another highly recommended scenic drive is the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, spanning around 14 miles along Route 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona, passing through the Village of Oak Creek. The drive takes you through the stunning Oak Creek Canyon, which offers breathtaking views and a winding road that ascends 4,500 feet from Sedona to the top of the Mogollon Rim. This drive is perfect for a day trip, as you can also explore Flagstaff’s unique shopping and local restaurants. Flagstaff is distinct from other parts of Arizona, as it is situated at a high elevation and surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest.

7. Visit The Vortexes

Sedona’s vortexes attract visitors from all corners of the globe. If you’re wondering what a vortex is, it is said to be a center of energy that promotes meditation, healing, and self-discovery. These sites are believed to be brimming with vitality, and many people leave feeling revitalized, renewed, or inspired. Sedona has four primary vortexes: Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing, and Airport Mesa.

You’ll often find people practicing yoga and meditation at the vortex sites. Consider joining them and see what you experience. Many companies and individual guides offer vortex tours, as well as healing practitioners. Access to all the vortex sites is relatively easy, and the Sedona visitor center provides maps and directions. Approach the experience with an open mind and see what you discover.

8. Tlaquepaque Arts, A Shopping Must

No journey to Sedona would be complete without a visit to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village. This destination is aptly named T-la-keh-pah-keh, which translates to “best of everything,” and it truly lives up to its name. This village is not merely a shopping experience but rather a glimpse into Sedona’s vibrant culture.

Tlaquepaque cobblestone courtyard with stores and restaurant
Tlaquepaque

Nestled alongside the tranquil banks of Oak Creek, the village evokes the charm of a Mexican town. Its cobblestone walkways beckon visitors to explore and discover the many hidden gems within. Tlaquepaque Arts boasts over 50 specialty stores, restaurants, and art galleries, all of which contribute to a hub of creativity and innovation. The shops offer unique handmade goods, from pottery to jewelry, while the restaurants provide exquisite cuisine that tantalizes the palate. Meanwhile, the art galleries showcase a variety of works, including paintings, sculptures, and photography, created by local and international artists alike.

Indeed, a visit to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village is a must for anyone seeking to experience the rich culture and artistic expression of Sedona.

  • El Rincon – offers Sedona’s finest “Arizona Style” Mexican cuisine
  • Oak Creek Brewery & Grill – premium beers brewed onsite
  • Pump House Station – offers fresh, organic, sustainable foods
  • Secret Garden Cafe – specializing in gourmet salads and sandwiches
9. Slide Rock State Park

Located in what used to be an apple farm, the Pendley Homestead is now home to one of the most sought-after swimming spots in the country – Slide Rock. This outdoor destination is especially popular among families with children, as it offers a fun opportunity to slide and swim in the natural waterslide that the flowing Oak Creek has created. While the rocks can be slippery due to algae, there are also natural pools that are perfect for wading. The swimming area stretches out for about half a mile, and the slides run for a total of 100 feet, making it an excellent spot for those looking to enjoy a day filled with adventure.

Slide Rock State Park is a popular attraction, especially during summer. As such, it is important to plan ahead to avoid arriving at a full parking lot. However, even if swimming isn’t your thing, the park is still worth a visit. Bring a picnic and enjoy the fun from one of the banks. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why Slide Rock is such a beloved destination.

10. Day Trip To The Grand Canyon

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, consider combining a scenic drive along the Red Rock Scenic Byway with a day trip to the Grand Canyon. No trip to the region would be complete without visiting the Grand Canyon – one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Fortunately, it’s just a 2.5-hour drive north of Sedona, making it an easy day trip.

As you make your way towards the Grand Canyon, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in the breathtaking views of the Painted Desert and the Little Colorado River Gorge. Once you arrive at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, you’ll want to head to Canyon Village, which is home to several viewpoints that are well worth your time.

View of sunset over Grand Canyon from Mather Point
Grand Canyon Photo by Joshua Bedford from Unsplash

Although very crowded, Mather Point is the most popular viewpoint. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider heading to Yavapai Point – this viewpoint offers excellent views and is less crowded than Mather Point. Another great option is Yaki Point, which also allows you to see the South Kaibab Trail descending into the canyon. Finally, Ooh Aah Point, located on the South Kaibab Trail, is one of the best vantage points in the area.

If you’re looking for another adventure in the region, consider renting bicycles and exploring the Hermit Road. This road is only open to shuttle traffic for most of the year, making it an ideal place to bike. It’s also a very family-friendly activity, so it’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the stunning scenery. Bright Angel Bicycles offers rental packages and is a unique way to experience the Grand Canyon.

Finally, before you head home, be sure to stop by the Historic Cameron Trading Post. This post is a great place to find Native American arts and crafts, and the dining options are excellent. It’s the perfect place to grab a few souvenirs before heading back to Sedona.

11. A Helicopter Tour

Have you ever considered experiencing the magnificent natural beauty of Sedona from an entirely unique perspective? If you have already been captivated by its breathtaking features from the ground, consider embarking on one of the many incredible Sedona helicopter tours available. Opting for a helicopter tour is an unparalleled adventure that allows you to appreciate the stunning views of Arizona’s natural wonders from high up in the sky. You can now take in the awe-inspiring views of Sedona’s famous red rock formations, including the Anasazi cliff dwellings, from a bird’s eye view, which is a truly captivating experience.

These tours typically last for less than an hour, which makes it an ideal way to see a lot of Sedona in a short amount of time. The Desert Thunder Tour is one of the most popular and highly recommended tours available that will provide you with an unforgettable experience of Sedona’s beauty from above.

Two hot air balloons over Sedona red rocks
Hot Air Balloons Photo by Casy Horner from Unsplash
12. Up, Up and Away in a Balloon Tour

If you’re looking for a peaceful and serene view of Sedona, then you should definitely consider going on a hot air balloon tour. One of the best options available is the daily tour offered by Red Rock Balloon Adventures. This tour takes place at sunrise, allowing you to witness the spectacular sunrise while you ascend and glide over the breathtaking Red Rock Country. As you float along in the hot air balloon, you can take in the stunning views of the landscape below and appreciate the tranquility of the moment. After the tour, you can indulge in a celebratory toast, making it an unforgettable experience. Overall, this hot-air balloon tour offers a truly unique way to discover the beauty of Sedona.

13. Star Gazing Tours

If you are a fan of stargazing, Sedona and its surrounding areas are definitely worth a visit. These areas have been designated as dark-sky communities, which means that they have taken measures to reduce light pollution and preserve the natural beauty of the night sky. One of the best things to do is joining a star gazing tour to make the most of your stargazing experience. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you to the best viewing spots and provide you with fascinating narratives about the stars and constellations. You will also receive valuable information about the night sky, such as how to identify different stars and planets. To make the experience even more memorable, the tour companies provide telescopes and binoculars for you to use. Companies like Sedona Stargazing or other local tours offer great options for your stargazing adventure.

Sedona red rocks with stars and night sky in background
Night Sky In Sedona Photo by Mark S from Unsplash
14. Visit Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park

In 1997, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, a prominent Buddhist leader, was captivated by the swirling energy of Sedona’s vortexes and decided to explore the area. Her visit led her to discover a remarkable site located at the base of Thunder Mountain. This location is where the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park can be found today. In the Buddhist tradition, a stupa is a significant symbol of Buddha’s enlightened mind and is considered a sacred architectural structure. The Amitabha Stupa, in particular, is renowned for its ability to bestow inner peace and healing to those who meditate or walk around it. It is worth noting that the site is open to individuals of all religions and beliefs, making it a truly inclusive and welcoming destination for spiritual seekers.

15. Biking Sedona
Man on bike on red rock trail
Red Rock Biking Photo by Sidney Pearce from Unsplash

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Sedona on a bike, whether it’s through exhilarating mountain biking or leisurely e-bike tours. As one of the country’s top mountain biking destinations, Sedona boasts various options for riders of all skill levels. You will find a number of good trails in Red Rock State Park. You have the choice to rent a mountain bike or join an organized bike tour. Not feeling up for intense pedaling? Sedona Adventures offers a Pedal & Paddle Wine Tour, which includes three of Sedona’s top activities – award-winning wine, a comfortable e-Bike ride, and a peaceful paddle down the Verde River. Indulge in the stunning scenery and choose the bike ride that best suits your interests and skill level. With Sedona’s breathtaking beauty, you’ll have an unforgettable experience you’ll cherish for years.

16. Spa Day In Sedona

After experiencing the spiritual energy vortexes of Sedona, why not take your relaxation to the next level with a day of pampering at one of Sedona’s many spas? A soothing massage, a calming facial, or a dip in a spa tub could be the perfect complement to your inner awakening. Sedona offers a variety of options, including both day spas and resort spas. The renowned Mii Amo spa in Boyton Canyon is one of the best destination spas in the country, it is definitely worth a visit. After my visit, no other spa experience has been able to compare to this amazing destination. Other highly recommended options include The Wilde Resort Spa and Sendona’s New Day Spa.

17. Experience A Sunset In Sedona

The experience of witnessing the sunset in Sedona is truly a magical moment that will leave a lasting impression. In this picturesque location, the red rocks exude a warm, golden glow as the sun gradually descends below the horizon. For the ultimate sunset experience in Sedona, make your way to the Airport Mesa, where you can marvel at breathtaking views of Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte. The view from here is simply awe-inspiring and will leave you breathless. If you are looking for a great place to view the sunset check out Devils Bridge and the Crescent Moon Picnic Area. These locations offer stunning views that will leave you feeling peaceful and inspired.

Looking for an Arizona itinerary check out my post 7-Day Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona Itinerary.

The sun setting on the red rocks of Sedona
Sedona Sunset Photo by Rish Martello from Unsplash

Where to Stay In Sedona

The Sedona and Oak Creek area has a wide range of hotels with many price points and types of service, so choosing a hotel can take time and effort. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Amara Resort & Spa
Located in the heart of Sedona, Amara is a favorite choice. Uptown Sedona’s restaurants and shops are just a short stroll away. But don’t be fooled; the location is peaceful and serene. Compared to some of the much more high-end properties in the area, Amara is priced better than the ultra-luxurious resorts on this list, but offers the same atmosphere.

Enchantment Resort
Enchantment Resort is set on over 70 acres of extraordinary red rock land located in the heart of Boyton Canyon. Enchantment is the type of resort you can stay and never leave. With a great pool, spa, and restaurant, everything you need is right there. Located about a 20-minute drive from Sedona. Enchantment is very removed from the crowds but is still very convenient.

L’Auberge De Sedona
Another luxury choice is located in the heart of Sedona along the banks of Oak Creek. This hotel is an easy walk to the Uptown shops and restaurants: plus incredible pools, a creekside beach, and a superb spa. You can also enjoy meals at a creekside restaurant.

Lantern Light Inn
If you want a more intimate type of accommodation, this is the place to check out. With only ten recently remodeled rooms, the feel is very personal. The lush, green garden with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy is a nice amenity. The Lantern Light Inn is a good choice if you are looking for a more economical stay, but keep in mind all Sedona accommodations are expensive.

Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Pinon Pointe
The Hyatt Residence Club Sedona is an excellent choice if you want a little more room or are traveling with children. Located in Uptown Sedona, this resort offers studio, one and two-bedroom options. The Hyatt offers a large pool, grills, and a gym.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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