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Adventures Close to Home

A Weekend to Discover Your Happy Place in the Red Rocks of Sedona

Article by Susan Lanier-Graham

Photography by Susan Lanier-Graham

Originally published in North Peoria Lifestyle

I always tell people Sedona is my happy place. There is something so magical, and emotional about driving into the canyon and seeing those red rocks. Just two hours north of Peoria, Sedona is the ideal weekend escape. With its great food, hiking for all skill levels, vibrant arts community and the most incredible sunsets, I can almost guarantee that you'll discover your own happy place among the Red Rocks of Sedona.

The Sedona Weather

Sedona is markedly cooler all year-round than in the Valley of the Sun. During April, days reach the mid-70s while nights still dip into the mid-40s, making it ideal for snuggling outdoors by a fire pit. March usually gets rain, so April is the season for blooms in Sedona. This is the beginning of Sedona's busy season, but it is the ideal time for enjoying the trails and some great shopping as you explore the art scene. 

Take a Jeep Tour

I do recommend that everyone book a Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona at least once. I did the 2-hour Broken Arrow tour, which is the company's most popular—and most extreme off-road trek. You climb into the open-back jeep and head out with your guide to places you can only explore with licensed outfitters. The highlight is the Road-of-No-Return which makes almost everyone squeal. The views are stunning and standing there on the buttes, gazing for miles in every direction, is definitely a happy place.

Here are some more must-do things for your weekend in Sedona.

Hiking in Sedona

Sedona has more than 400 miles of trails varying from easy strolls to challenging climbs. The popular Cathedral Rock Trail is 1.2 miles. The moderate trail is sometimes steep in places but offers spectacular views of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. Margs Draw Trail is a lesser-used easy and flat trail, four miles out and back. This is a good family trail with views of Snoopy Rock.

Discover more trails

Staying in Sedona

There are dozens of hotels and inns in Sedona, making it easy to find something that fits every budget. Consider Arabella Sedona. It’s a welcoming hotel with large rooms and swinging chairs on the patios. Outdoor firepits are ideal for the evenings. Pick up a cruiser bike for exploring or walk to nearby shopping. The highlight of the pet-friendly hotel is the short stroll to the bluff for 360-degree sunset views. Arabella is steps from Margs Draw Trail.

Eating in Sedona

Sedona is a foodie's paradise! Molé, part of Arabella Sedona, serves classic Mexican dishes with a modern interpretation. Willows Kitchen & Wine offers eclectic American cuisine. I recommend starting with the artichoke flatbread. The short ribs and lamb lollipops are both scrumptious. There is also a knowledgeable sommelier offering an impressive wine list. For something fun and casual, stop by Jay Bird’s Chicken. A prickly pear margarita goes quite well with chicken and waffles!

Shopping in Sedona

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village (pronounced T-lockey-pockey) is synonymous with Sedona. The village, created about 40 years ago, blends Sedona and Old Mexico. There are 45 shops with artwork, clothing, collectibles and more. If you stay at Arabella Sedona, I recommend walking the half-mile to Tlaquepaque. Along the way, you can stop by Hillside Sedona Shopping Center for a quick nibble or to check out the galleries.