Here is What to Do in Sedona on a Budget!
Sedona is a popular vacation destination in the Southwest United States. Known for its red rock desert Arizona landscapes, Sedona is one the best places to plan an adventure trip. On top of the area’s vibrant beauty, it is popular due to its world-class outdoor recreation and new age atmosphere attracting spirit junkies. We’ll share all the details with you on what to do in Sedona for an epic desert vacation on a budget!
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What to Do in Sedona on a Budget
Sedona, Arizona, is an outdoor recreation Mecca surrounded by the Coconino National Forest. Because of the abundance of outdoor activities, visitors can plan a fun Sedona vacation while sticking to a budget. Most of the activities in this article are free to do!
When we travel, to keep trips budget friendly, we hike and bring our own food! We also visit popular destinations in the off-season.
Keep reading to plan an adventure getaway and find out all the best things to do in Sedona. We’ll talk about the top places to hike, provide the scoop on Sedona’s mysterious vortexes, other sights to see in the area, along with when to visit, where to stay, how to get there, and what to pack!
Go Hiking Around Sedona
One of the top outdoor activities to do in Sedona is go hiking!
Jaw-dropping high desert trails are abundant in the immediate area and Coconino National Forest.
Plus, hiking is free!
Continue reading for our Sedona hiking guide recommendations.
Top 10 Hikes in Sedona
Below is a list of the top 10-day hikes to do while visiting Sedona.
1. Devils Bridge Trail
Rated the number one trail to hike in Sedona, Devil’s Bridge is a famous natural sandstone arch. The 4.2-mile route takes roughly two hours to walk and is rated as a moderate hike.
2. Cathedral Rock Trail
There are a few different ways to get to Cathedral Rock, depending on how long you’d like to hike. Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular Sedona area hiking trails and natural attractions to see.
3. Bear Mountain Trail
If you’re down to see epic views, hiking Bear Mountain is a must. Roughly 5 miles round-trip, the trail ascends to the top of the mountain and is ranked as difficult.
4. Big Park to Bell Rock Loop Trail
Big Park to Bell Rock Loop makes for a perfect day hike. Walk the 4-mile loop trail to the famous Bell Rock. This route is ranked as moderate.
5. Little Horse Trail
A 4.3 mile out and back trail, you’ll see incredible red rock formations during a roughly 2-hour hike. This trail is ranked as a moderate hike.
6. Oak Creek Trail
It is always fun to find places with water in the desert! The Oak Creek Trail wanders through the creek bed and will offer views of Cathedral Rock. It is an easy and short 1.4-mile walk out and back.
7. Birthing Cave
Super popular for adventure photographers, a 2-mile trail and a moderate one-hour walk to the Birthing Cave makes for excellent views as well as photo opportunities.
Are you interested in adventure travel photography? Check out our guide for the photography gear we use!
8. Sugarloaf Loop Trail
For incredible views of Sedona’s red rock cliffs and mountain range, the short 2-mile Sugarloaf Loop trail is a must! The hike only takes about an hour.
9. Wilson Mountain Trail
For some of the Sedona area’s best views, plan an all-day 11.5-mile hike along the Wilson Mountain Trail. Be sure to plan accordingly since this trail is so long! It is also ranked as difficult. If you are shorter on time or energy, it is still worth trekking along some of the trail.
10. Airport Loop Trail
Check out this rocky loop with epic views of red rock country. The trail is about 3.2 miles, is ranked as moderate, and takes roughly an hour and a half to hike.
Check Out the Sedona Energy Vortexes
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What are the Sedona Vortexes?”
The vortexes are supposed to be powerful healing energy sources from the earth. The vortexes help with self-exploration, healing, and meditation; hence, why so many spirit junkies are attracted to Sedona.
The main Sedona Vortexes are located at Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa, and Bell Rock. Be sure to add these natural rock formations to your list of places to visit in Sedona, AZ!
It is a perfect opportunity to stop and see if you feel anything while you’re hiking since all of these vortexes are on popular hikes mentioned above.
If you feel the energy, you might notice a tingling sensation in your body. Or maybe you feel extra calm.
When in nature, pausing to hear the sounds, feel the breeze on our face, smell the air is always a great way to reset the soul and spirit. Now you have more reasons to stop, take a quiet moment, and experience the vortexes!
Do Yoga or Meditate at a Vortex
While hiking, pause to soak in the earth’s energy. Maybe sit and meditate or do your best downward dog in nature!
Yoga at a vortex in nature is a fun thing to do in Sedona! Outdoor reflection, meditation, and yoga silently scream happy places and crazy fun vacations.
Stroll Main Street and Downtown Sedona
Take time to explore the main street and Sedona city center on your trip. There are places to shop, eat, grab a coffee, and many other cool new age, boho-type shops full of really cool crystals, clothes, and books.
Explore Tlaquepaque Art & Crafts Village
Another cool thing to do in Sedona, check out Tlaquepaque Art & Crafts Village. The outdoor adobe mall is full of neat local stores, antiquities, history, art, and restaurants.
You can wander around and take photos at no cost making this a budget-friendly activity.
Maybe treat yourself to a prickly pear cactus margarita while you’re exploring?
See Chapel of the Holy Cross
For Sedona sightseeing, one of the most famous architectural attractions is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. You don’t have to pay to see it. Drive your car to the front and take photos. It is interesting to see! However, don’t plan to spend too much time there… We recommend sneaking visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross on the way to or from a hike!
Drive the Red Rock Scenic Byway SR 179
What else is there to do in Sedona? Drive the Red Rock Scenic Byway state route 179! Take a break from hiking, pack some road trip snacks, and go on a drive.
Red Rock Scenic Byway is known as the gateway to red rock desert country and America’s first All-American Road. The route is only 7.5 miles long but is full of magnificent sights and photo opportunities. Don’t miss it!
Go on a Jeep Tour
Another fun way to see beautiful places in Sedona is to book a jeep tour! Soldier Pass is a popular jeep destination! Go on an expedition to Solider Pass to see the Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole and Seven Sacred Pools. If you’re up for splurging a little, a jeep tour makes for a fun afternoon outing and is an excellent way to see more of the area. The jeep tours are a top tourism activity in the area.
When to Visit Sedona, AZ
Sedona has relatively mild weather, so it is great to visit year-round. Late spring and early fall make for excellent hiking conditions. Summers can get pretty hot, but if you hike early in the day, you can get away with hiking in the summer. Plus, if you’re staying somewhere with a pool, a summer visit is just the best!
In the spring and early summer, the cactus bloom! It is beautiful to see the bright colors popping from the earth tones.
It is unusual for Sedona to get snow in the winter, though it does snow every so often.
To find the best deals on accommodations, visit during shoulder seasons and off-seasons when people are working, and kids are in school to get the best rates on places to stay.
For example, when we visited Sedona, we went the first week of June. The weather was cool enough a few days to need a light down jacket, but warm enough some days to wear shorts, a tank top, and lounge at the pool.
How to Get to Sedona
When planning how to get to Sedona by air, the closest airport is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG). Flagstaff is 45 minutes north of Sedona. The next option is to fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX). Phoenix is two hours south of Sedona.
Renting a Car
If you are flying into the area, you want to rent a car. You can select a budget rental. Most of the trails have easy paved road access. We recommend renting a car, so you have the freedom and flexibility to access all of the hikes and outdoor recreation in the area.
Are you planning a road trip? Whenever we road trip far from home, we always purchase travel insurance from Travel Insurance Master. With Travel Insurance Master, you can select the exact coverage you need to cover outdoor activities, gear, reservations, and more.
Where to Stay in Sedona
There are plenty of options to choose from while visiting Sedona with a wide range of budget accommodations. There are big chain hotels, boutique hotels, Vacation Rental by Owners (VRBOs), Airbnbs, and more.
Research ahead of time to find the best rate and avoid the crowds. We recommend staying in town, so you’re within walking distance to explore downtown Sedona, the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts village, and enjoy local restaurants if you desire.
If you’re visiting in the summer, you might want to stay somewhere with an outdoor pool!
Where & How to Eat on a Budget
Plan to stay somewhere with a kitchen! This way, you can swing by the local grocery store or Whole Foods to plan some easy meals.
Grocery shopping will save a lot of money while visiting Sedona on a budget.
Plan to eat breakfast where you are staying, pack sack lunches and snacks for the hikes and day trips. Eat dinner and enjoy the sunset from where you are visiting. Or treat yourself to a night out once or twice.
Preparing your food and making sack lunches saves a lot of money while vacationing!
Don’t forget to bring your reusable grocery bags! Sedona is an environmentally conscious town.
What to Pack for an Outdoor Adventure Vacation
Since Sedona is at a higher desert elevation, it can have decent temperature swings.
Plan to pack for spring, summer, and fall on your trip.
The evenings and mornings can be cool, but the days hot. Or an afternoon rainstorm can come through and cool everything down.
Below is an example of what we recommend packing:
Clothes for Outdoor Adventures
- Light down jacket
- Windproof and rainproof jacket
- Brimmed hat
- Long pants for cooler evenings and mornings
- Day hiking pants
- Short sleeve shirt
- Long sleeve shirt
- Wool socks for hiking
- Duffle bag
- Swimsuit cover
Gear for Outdoor Adventures and Other Essentials
- Hiking poles
- Hiking bag
- Water bottle(s)
- Hiking shoes
- Hiking sandals
Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona
Here’s a summary of the best activities in Sedona for a fantastic budget-friendly trip!
- Go Hiking Around Sedona
- Check Out the Sedona Energy Vortexes
- Do Yoga or Meditate at a Vortex
- Stroll Main Street and Downtown Sedona
- Explore Tlaquepaque Art & Crafts Village
- See Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Drive the Red Rock Scenic Byway – SR 179
- Go on a Jeep Tour
We hope this article inspires your trip to Sedona. Enjoy the area’s vibrant beauty, world-class outdoor recreation, and new-age atmosphere for spirit junkies!
Ashlee & Pablo
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Have you been to Sedona, Arizona?
If so, did you visit the vortexes or feel any energy at the vortexes?
What was your favorite hike?
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