A Great Weekend Itinerary for Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

If you’re the lucky traveler who gets to spend a weekend in Sedona, you’d better plan ahead, so you don’t miss anything! Over the course of the weekend, there are hundreds of things to choose from. And having at least some of your activities planned out in advance will greatly enhance your trip. Whether you’re an art-lover or a thrill-seeker, Sedona has something for you!

Here is our itinerary for the perfect weekend in Sedona:


  • Airport Mesa Trail
  • Red Rock Road Loop
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Local Dining


  • Devil’s Bridge
  • Casa Sedona
  • Tlaquepaque 
  • Authentic Mexican Food
  • Sunset kayak


  • Horseback adventure
  • ATV or Helicopter tour
  • Cathedral Rock
  • Bell Rock

We are always fans of a little impromptu activity, but you may find the plethora of options overwhelming. In this article, we identify a few activities for each day of your trip, so all you have to do is follow along!

Downtown Sedona
Downtown Sedona

What to Do on Day One in Sedona

Nestled in the desert and surrounded by red rock buttes, Sedona is a beautiful town near Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s known for its robust arts community and absolutely breathtaking views. It also offers some out of this world incredible hiking and other outdoor activities for the adventurer in you.

It’s highly likely that you spent a portion of the morning traveling to get here. Or maybe you got in last night? Either way, we always find that day one in Sedona is perfect for a little sight-seeing and an amazing sunset dinner.

To begin crafting the perfect itinerary for your weekend in Sedona, these are our picks for day one!

Airport Mesa Trail

If you flew in to Sedona, the perfect place to start is on the Airport Mesa Trail. If you’ve been on a plane for several hours, now is the time to get your blood pumping by taking a little hike to some incredible views. The trail winds its way around Table Top Mountain and is categorized as a moderate difficulty level.

This trail features narrow sections with steep drop-offs, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Although the elevation is relatively steady, many hikers have expressed their concern after looking down over the drop-offs. If you’re brave enough to take this hike, you will be welcomed to Arizona with some of the most breathtaking views available.

Some of the sights you will see on this loop include Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, both of which have excellent individual hiking adventures, as well. Along with these sites, you will be surrounded by red rock formations and valleys as far as the eye can see. It is definitely worth the stop!

Red Rock Loop Trail

If you prefer to ease into your adventures after traveling to Sedona, the Red Rock Loop Trail might be a better fit for you. This drive takes about an hour and will give you access to some beautiful spots to pull over for photo ops. It starts and ends on Highway 89A, with an excursion off the highway onto some back desert roads.

On this loop, you will be able to see Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte. All of these rock formations are landmarks that travelers flock to Sedona to behold. You will also pass a few picnic spots and Red Rock State Park along this drive, so feel free to stop and enjoy a bite to eat while you take it all in.

If you rented a car or drove yourself to Sedona, that’s awesome! If not, be sure to ask the concierge at the airport which tour to book that is willing to cruise you along this trail before taking you to your hotel. It is an excellent way to cut your teeth on the Sedona landscape, so don’t miss out on it!

Chapel of the Holy Cross

If you decided to both hike the Airport Mesa AND drive the Red Rock Loop, it only makes sense to head south just a bit to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross while you’re still driving! This incredible structure was inspired and commissioned by a local rancher and sculptor named Marguerite Brunswig Staude in the 1930s. It is only a short drive from Red Rock Loop in Coconino Nation Forest, so now is the perfect time to go see it!

Chapel of the Holy Cross was built in the 1950s and is situated between two huge red rock buttes. It’s an amazing vantage point to see Sedona from and is among the most visited places in all of Sedona.

Check in to Your Lodging

Sedona has a surprisingly eclectic selection of spas, resorts, hotels, and cabins for you to choose from. If you’re a little more adventurous, there are also tons of campsites for both tents and RVs. Another unique option is a variety of vacation rentals if you’re looking for a little extra privacy.

We recommend choosing your lodging close to the areas in which your preferred activities are available. For example, if you enjoy shopping, dining out, and a touch of nightlife, you might want to choose something a little closer to the Main Street District. If you are in Sedona for hiking, kayaking, and adventure-seeking, try something a little further out, so you have close access to the Verde River or one of the major trailheads.

Dine on Some Local Fare

After getting checked in to your lodging of choice, we recommend that you venture back out for some local cuisine. If you’re close to the Main Street District, you will find a variety of local restaurants with amazingly unique creations for every palate. Travelers have often raved about local gems such as Elote Café, Mom’s Kitchen, and Open Range Grill & Café.

If you’re staying at a campground, tonight might be the perfect night for a bonfire and a grill out. Many of the campgrounds offer fire pits and built-in grills for campers to use during their stay, and there are plenty of local grocery stores nearby to do your shopping and stock your fridge. If you’re an elaborate camper with a great setup, you might have your own grill instead, which is also awesome!

What to Do on Day Two in Sedona

Hopefully, you got some good rest and enjoyed some beautiful scenery on day one, and it made you thirsty for even more panoramic views and sun-soaked destinations! On day two, it’s always fun to throw in a sunrise hike or some water activities, or both if you’re really feeling energized!

If you’re only in Sedona for three days, it makes sense that your “rise and shine” day be the second day. You’ve had the chance to get settled and have a nice meal and get the lay of the land. Now it’s time to set out on your exploration and really jump head-first into the experience.

Devil’s Bridge Sunrise Hike

This is one of the best hikes in Sedona, but it will definitely more enjoyable if you go first thing in the morning. It tends to get super crowded in mid-morning and then again at sunset. Instead of fighting the crowds, get out there super early and watch the sunrise.

The way the light hits the layers of red rock is stunning in the early morning. You can actually watch as the rocks seem to change color with the rising of the sun. If you get there before the sun starts coming up, you can just relax, kick back and watch it all happen!

Devil’s Bridge is an incredible, naturally formed bridge of rocks. You can walk out onto the Bridge, sit down and breathe in all the natural beauty around you. This hike begins at the Mescal Trailhead and is about 4 miles, roundtrip and one of our favorites as well.

Devil's Bridge
Devil’s Bridge in Sedona

Casa Sedona Restaurant

After your morning hike, there is no doubt that you will have worked up an appetite. You will certainly be able to satisfy your cravings at Casa Sedona Restaurant. They use tons of fresh, local ingredients and have some very unique options on their menu.

Many travelers have commented on the exceptional service and amazing menu options available at Casa Sedona. The dining room is quaint and intimate for a nice, warm breakfast. Patio seating is also available so you can have breakfast while still enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

Now that you’ve exercised and had an amazing meal, head over to the Tlaquepaque Arts & shopping village. Give your legs a little bit of a rest and exercise your credit card instead! You might want to grab a cup of chai here, as well. It’s fantastic!

This quaint village is styled after a traditional Mexican village and features arts, crafts, textiles, clothing, and more. Take your time perusing the shops for some authentic jewelry or try on a new dress that was hand-made by a local artisan! It is a unique experience that you don’t want to miss if you enjoy art, music, and atmosphere.

Lunch in Tlaquepaque

Although we highly recommend shopping in this sweet little village, there is no mistaking the culinary wonders that are also available. If you’ve worked up an appetite from shopping, you should definitely grab some authentic Mexican cuisine before heading out for your next adventure. There are five restaurants to choose from in this village, and they are all exceptional.

From romantic fine dining to local brews and light fare, there is something for everyone. Most of the restaurant menus are available for you to view before entering and also online, so you can browse a bit before making your selection. You can’t really go wrong with any of them, so don’t take too long to decide!

Sunset Kayak Tour

After a gorgeous morning hike, some amazing food, and some great shopping, it’s time to be adventurous again! Stop by your lodging, drop off the new treasures you just purchased and get ready for an incredible sunset kayaking tour. There are a variety of tour companies who offer this option, and we highly recommend it!

Whether you choose to kayak on the river or in one of the scenic lakes, be sure to book your tour ahead of time. The spots tend to fill up quickly and for good reason. Not only will you get some exhilaration from the water and the workout, but you will also get some incredible views and photo ops.

As the sun goes down in Sedona, the rock formations show different layers and colors of sediment. You can also see the reflections of the formations in the water, particularly on the lakes. You won’t regret this experience, and you still have an entire day for your gear to dry out before you have to pack it to return home!

Pro tip: Some of the tours even offer a stop in wine country for a little wine tasting along the way. Check for those options if you’re interested!

What to Do on Day Three in Sedona

We are big fans of hiking in Sedona because that’s just what you do when you go there. But for day three, we recommend starting with something more unique. There are a variety of really cool things to do, including off-road Jeep adventure, helicopter tours, and horseback riding.

Here are some reviews of each of these activities. If you’re crafty enough to fit them all in, more power to you! If not, choose 2 or 3 and call it a day!

Horseback Adventure

Starting your day with a horseback tour can be one of the most memorable things you can do in Sedona. There’s something about enjoying the most unique landscapes from the back of a gorgeous animal that just makes it special. There are a variety of tour companies in Sedona that offer different options, so check to see which ones are closest to you.

Horseback tours will typically last 1-2 hours, depending on the tour company, and are ranged all over the Sedona area. Some hike through some pretty steel trails while others prefer a more laid-back approach. There are some restrictions to ride a horse, so do your research and read the fine print before booking anything.

Four-Wheel Drive Tours

Whether you’re interested in a Jeep or an ATV, you can find it in Sedona. These tours are generally for the thrill-seeking type who just wants to see what the vehicle is capable of when it’s up against mother nature. The Jeep tours will typically allow you to be a passenger only, while the ATV tours usually let you drive your own rented vehicle.

You can ride the rugged trails, climb over big rocks in a jacked up Jeep and find yourself completely surrounded by steep walls and red rock buttes. There really is nothing quite like this experience, especially if you’ve never been off-roading before. Many of these tours can venture down into Red Rock Canyon into areas that are unreachable on hiking tours and in other vehicles.

Helicopter Tours

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you’ve probably either seen or participated in a helicopter tour over the canyon itself. Sedona is no different. It offers such an incredible landscape that a helicopter tour is one of the only ways to see it all in only a three-day trip. Taking in the landscape from an aerial view is an experience like none other.

If you have the opportunity to take a helicopter tour in Sedona, we recommend either sunrise or sunset. Because the red rocks are layered with different colors of sediment, they reflect the sunlight in a way that is truly a sight to see. When looking upon them from overhead, it makes the experience even more incredible.

Cathedral Rock

After riding horses and four-wheelers, you might be ready to get back on your own two feet and keep on trekking. For this, we recommend Cathedral Rock. It is one of the most popular hiking spots in Sedona and can be really crowded for that reason. Be prepared to hike alongside tons of other travelers when you take this hike.

The trail itself is only about 1.5 miles, roundtrip, and is categorized as a moderate hike. It is manageable for most people because there are no steep climbs or need for upper body strength. There is no shade on this trail, so if you’re concerned specifically about the sun, move it to the early morning or the evening on day three.

Bell Rock

Bell Rock is another red rock formation that is a popular spot for tourists in Sedona. It’s not too far from Cathedral rock, so it makes sense to do them on the same day. It’s about a 1.5-mile hike with plenty of amazing views and photo ops.

The trail to Bell Rock is very well maintained and easily passable for most people. There are no steep climbs or drop offs to be concerned with, and is a kid-friendly trail if you need one. The cool thing about this hike is that you can actually climb the rock, as well. You can climb as high as you wish on Bell Rock, which is a major draw for hikers and rock climbers alike.

Bell Rock - Sedona
Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona

The Vortex

It would be an egregious oversight, not to mention the topic of vortices in Sedona, so let’s do that now.

It is believed by some that there are a series of vortices in Sedona that are comprised of either negative (male) or positive (female) energies. Many believe that these vortices have the ability to heal many ailments from mental illness to cancer.

The vortices are believed to be swirling centers of energy that can promote not only healing but also self-awareness and a deeper level of meditation. The after-effects of visiting a vortex are often described as feelings of being “energized,” “inspired,” and “uplifted.”

Whether or not you believe in the vortex, we believe that you will certainly be energized, motivated, and inspired after a trip to Sedona!

What to Pack for a Trip to Sedona

Now that you have an idea of what to do in Sedona for each of your three precious days, let’s talk about what you need to pack! Sedona is in the middle of the desert. Let’s be clear about that.

What does that mean for you?

It means that it could be really hot during the day, but the temperature could drop drastically at night.

It’s always a good idea to check out the average temperatures in Sedona for the specific time of the year that you are planning to go. For example, if you live in South Florida and it’s 85 degrees in October, you cannot expect the same in Sedona at that time of year! Depending on your favorite activities, you will want to plan your trip for a specific time of year.

Spring and Summer

In the later Spring months and all summer long, you can anticipate a hot, dry climate during the day. If you’re an outdoor adventure seeker (as most Sedona travelers are), you will need a variety of items for your trip. Let’s conquer the most critical ones first.

  • A hat with a bill to protect your eyes and face.
  • Hiking shoes to protect your feet from rough, and at times very uneven sediment.
  • A water bottle or a couple of them that you can refill and carry on all your outdoor adventures.
  • Sunscreen to protect your skin from harsh sun rays.
  • Trail mix and other compact snacks, your hikes will make you hungry. Nutritious snacks that will help to fuel your body will be most beneficial.
  • Sunglasses so you can see properly in the desert sunlight.
  • Clothing made of light, moisture-wicking fabric: avoid cotton because it will hold all the moisture and make you uncomfortable.

Fall and Winter

Foggy Sedona Arizona Cliffs
Foggy Sedona Cliffs

In the fall and winter, the weather is going to be very different. It is not uncommon for the high to be in the 60s and the low to be in the 30s. For drastic swings like this, you need plenty of layers. First and foremost, ALL of the things from Spring and Summer also apply to fall and winter, so let’s list those first:

  • Sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • A hat with a bill to protect your eyes and face.
  • Sunglasses so you can see in the desert sunlight.
  • A water bottle or a couple of them that you can refill and carry on all your outdoor adventures.
  • Hiking shoes if you plan on hiking.
  • Trail mix and other compact snacks because your hikes will make you hungry.
  • Clothing made of light, moisture-wicking fabric: avoid cotton because it will hold all the moisture and make you uncomfortable.

Aside from these, you will also need:

  • Multiple layers of moisture-wicking clothing: short sleeve, long sleeve, light and heavy
  • Several pairs of socks for layering and will help with possible blisters.
  • A light jacket for daytime and a heavy jacket for the nighttime temperature drop.
  • A hat with a bill during the day and a beanie for warmth at night.

Depending on the type of trip you are taking, you may need some other items, as well. For example, if you’re camping, you will need to bring food to cook over the bonfire, or at least a cooler so you can purchase food and put it on ice for use during the 3-day adventure. You may also need a generator to power your RV, camper, or other vehicle at the campsite.

If you’re a city-sleeper and you have a hotel room, you just need the basics that you would take on any other trip. Just be mindful that you still need moisture-wicking clothes, multiple layers, etc.

If you plan on kayaking, you may want to pack some water shoes, a lifejacket, or even a wetsuit. Most kayak companies will provide a lifejacket for you, but if you prefer to bring your own, that’s cool too. If the weather is particularly chilly and you are concerned about hypothermia, bring your wetsuit! That will almost guarantee your comfort during any kayaking trip in the cold!


Hopefully, you have a crazy amount of ideas flooding your thoughts about Sedona and all the possibilities that lie in a 3-day trip. There is something for everyone in Sedona, and it’s up to you to decide which of these activities to try and which ones to avoid. Of course, we hope you’ll try the entire itinerary and let us know how it went!

Sedona is a sacred place filled with breathtaking views and amazing experiences. Whether you love to hike, eat, drink, write, draw, or think, there is a perfect spot in Sedona just for you. It is a truly inspiring place and will have you wanting to plan your next trip before you even leave.

We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!