Monday, September 21, 2015

Magical Sedona

Posted by Devin


Jake and I recently visited Sedona for a few days celebrating our 15 year wedding anniversary together. It was the BEST trip. I always forget just how beautiful and magical Sedona really is! Every time I return I am surprised again by the stunning red rocks accented by bright green cacti and clear blue skies.

When I was planning our trip I was researching what we should do while we were there, but I couldn't find a really great article on the topic. Mostly there were just a lot of generic suggestions about what to do there. Because our trip turned out to be so great, I thought I would give you the specifics on what we did. Perhaps it will help you plan your own rocking trip to Sedona!

Where We Stayed


Sedona can be a pretty pricey place to stay. Many of the resorts and hotels are lovely but will also put a dent in your vacation budget. So we decided to take our vintage travel trailer, Gus, with us! We stayed at the Rancho Sedona RV Park and it was wonderful! Clean and filled with beautiful vegetation and located right in the center of town on Oak Creek, there was no where we would have rather stayed! We loved the friendly and quiet atmosphere of the park and that the creek is right there to swim in and enjoy. If you own an RV or travel trailer, I highly recommend you take it for this trip. If you do not own one but still want to keep things on the inexpensive side, there are also some great tent camping sites which are an excellent option for much of the year given Sedona's mild weather.


Where We Ate

Food is an important part of travel for Jake and I. When we visit new areas, we are always excited to try the local cuisine and make it a point to hunt down the area's best restaurants! After a lot of internet research here are the best places where we decided to eat and not a single location let us down. 

Elote


Elote is a surprising little second-floor restaurant located at the Arabella Hotel on State Route 179. They serve Mexican cuisine created by their head chef and the inspirations he received through years of travel through Mexico. The dishes are delicious, fresh, and original and you can taste the authentic old Mexico influences. Plus the views are spectacular!

Hideaway House


Hideaway House serves "homestyle food leaning towards Italian." I thought that was a bit of a curious description, but we decided to give it a try based on it's great reviews. Everything was mouth-wateringly good and we only wished we had time to return on our trip for a second visit. And once again, this location boasts spectacular views. If you are going for dinner, try to get there atleast 30 minutes before sunset to make the most of it!

Oaxaca


For the traditional Sonoran-style Mexican food we Arizonans are used to, Oaxaca is a great choice. Jake and I have eaten here on other trips to Sedona and we have never been let down. And once again, the upstairs outdoor seating has beautiful views of the red rocks. If you're going to eat out in Sedona, you might as well go somewhere you can enjoy Sedona's best features!

Sabrina's Gourmet Ice Cream


I love me a good chocolate shake. And in my opinion, the very best chocolate shakes are made with chocolate ice cream, not vanilla ice cream and syrup. I can't go to Sedona without stopping by Sabrina's for a chocolate ice cream chocolate shake. And actually you can get a shake in any of their ice cream flavors! Enjoy your ice cream on the back patio while admiring the red rocks or while you cruise through the main drag of shops.

Firehouse Donuts


Firehouse Donuts is actually located about 20 minutes from the center of Sedona in a place called Cottonwood, AZ. Jake and I decided to spend one morning exploring Cottonwood and nearby Jerome so we stopped by here to try the donuts. They have a number of traditional style donuts as well as a variety of gourmet flavors. Our favorites were the chocolate cake donut and the creme brulee gourmet donut. Delish! The staff was very friendly and the atmosphere was great. A fun stop for sure!

What We Did

Jake and I visited Sedona with the intention of having a very outdoorsy and active vacation and that's exactly what we did! We played a lot of pickleball (our new favorite activity), went on lots of hikes, and tried out a few great swimming holes. Here are the highlights of our adventures! And FYI, if you ARE planning on spending a fair amount of time on the trails, it's a good idea to stop by the Chamber of Commerce and get some of their free maps and information. We found them to be super helpful.

Devil's Bridge Hike



This hike is about 4.5 miles round trip from the parking area to the bridge and moderately difficult. It's a pretty flat hike until you get near the bridge and then there is a bit of a climb. The red rocks and dirt coupled with the bright green trees and cacti make for beautiful surroundings throughout the hike. And once you start climbing the views are lovely. The bridge itself is an amazing sight and I have to admit, it had me shaking in my boots a bit. I'm not a fan of heights and so could not be convinced to venture out onto the bridge. Jake was not as timid as I am and enjoyed walking around the bridge quite extensively (which was making me a nervous wreck). That being said, I loved this hike and will definitely do it again on our next visit.

Cathedral Rock Hike




There are two ways to approach Cathedral Rock, a shorter hike from a nearby road on the Eastern side of the rock (the more popular option) or a longer hike from the Crescent Moon Picnic Area on the Western side of the rock. We chose the longer hike as it offered nice swimming holes (Red Rock Crossing and Buddha Beach) to enjoy at the start and finish and we were looking for a longer hike as well. This hike is a little tougher as the climb is steeper and longer, but we absolutely loved this hike. The views are spectacular and the hike is just really fun. A lot of the reviews said not to attempt it if you are afraid of heights but I really didn't have a problem with it at all. There is one section where you are crawling up a crack in the rocks, but it's not too bad. We saw people of all ages and athletic abilities completing the hike and enjoying themselves. The views at the top are simply breathtaking and I can honestly say this is a hike I will never miss the opportunity to take if I am in Sedona. I want to go back again and again!

Grasshopper Point


If you aren't in the mood for a hike but want to hit up a great swimming hole, Grasshopper Point is a good way to go. It's usually less crowded than Slide Rock and a bit cheaper to park there, plus it's a really pretty spot to take a dip. There are also some nice rocks to jump off of into the water. It's located up Oak Creek just a few minutes out of town making it a very convenient location. We really lucked out and had the place all to ourselves! Although not quite as crowded as Slide Rock, that is not the norm.

And those are the highlights of our mini vacay! We really can't wait to go back and we think the kids are going to love it all as much as we did. Although going back just the two of us again doesn't sound too bad either. ;) I hope our recommendations help you out when planning your next Sedona trip!

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