Looking for a new, warm travel destination? Are you looking to stay in the United States? Do you only have a few days off to spend? My fiancé and I traveled to Sedona, AZ for a quick 4 day weekend trip. The great thing about Sedona is that you don’t need to spend an extensive amount of time in the area to appreciate and take advantage of the activities and sights. You can also do lots of outdoor activities with friends/ family for free! In this blog post, I’ll give you a sneak peak at the beautiful sights of Sedona as well as a more detailed itinerary of weather conditions we experienced, my packing list, travel accommodations, activities, and dining options.
Time of travel:
Jan 12- 14
Hi 66 Lo 45
What I wish I brought:
Essentially warmer clothes…
- Heavier jacket (ie: fleece- my favorite)
- Hiking boots instead of just sneakers
- Thin gloves
- Warmer dressy boots vs. open heeled heels for dinner
- Flip-flops for the pool
- Heavier sweater for dinner
- A few extra T-shirts
What I was glad I brought:
- Portable charger
- Reading book- current favorite
- Professional camera – the lens I used for the pictures in this post
The most direct flight itinerary for us, from North Dakota, was through Phoenix, AZ. We rented a car from the airport which was ~10-minute shuttle ride to the car rental service station. We were given a Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan which was great on gas for the 2-hour drive to Sedona- especially with the hills and elevation along the commute. Four hours of driving only cost us 1/2 a tank of gas. We pre-paid a full tank of gas at the car rental station, but with this vehicle, you’re better off paying with what you use.
When we arrived in Arizona, it was thankfully daytime, so we were able to take in the breathtaking scenery along our drive from Phoenix to Sedona.
We stayed at the Kimpton Amara Resort and Spa. Our rooms were fairly average, but they kept the grounds, main hotel entrance, and hotel restaurant updated and to a higher standard. The hotel offered an infinity pool warmed to 85 degrees, hot tub (which was gorgeous to watch the stars in at night), outdoor lawn games, fire pits, and tall heating lamps around the outdoor restaurant tables. The main entrance of the hotel offered a free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate bar every morning, and complimentary wine and mixed cocktail service during happy hour every early evening.
There are a lot of hiking trails local to do in Sedona. Most are moderate in difficulty and about 2 hours in length. Parking spaces are limited, so we found success in starting our hikes first thing in the morning right when the sun was rising.
Our first hike was to Cathedral Rock. This hike was Moderate in difficulty and 1 mile in each direction. The views at the top were breathtaking! I felt like I was constantly pausing to take pictures or to savor the beautiful landscape and red rock surrounding me. Altogether, the trail took about 2 hours to complete.
Our second hike was to Devil’s Bridge. This hike was Moderate in difficulty and took us about 4 hours roundtrip to complete. We started our hike around 08:00 and had plenty of parking spots available. There were hardly any hikers on the trail. When we got to the top where the bridge was, there were a handful of other hikers, but we were essentially able to take our own individual pictures privately without other tourists in the shots.
We were feeling adventurous and decided to continue up the path to higher rock ledges. We were able to climb an additional 30 minutes to see some beautiful views before reaching a point where we could no longer climb further. After heading back down to our car, around 11:00, the trail became very saturated with hikers.
To rest and relax after two days of hiking, we enjoyed massages and facials at the Kimpton Amara Spa. We booked these appointments 3 weeks in advance of our hotel reservation as the availability for the Spa services were quick to fill up.
Prior to leaving, we saved a little bit of time to see the Meteor crater. It’s about $18/person- regardless of how long you stay. We didn’t have enough time to do a formal tour of the crater or to watch one of the movies about the meteor event. However, the crater was pretty amazing to see nonetheless.
The Kimpton resort offered a fantastic in-hotel restaurant called Saltrock. I typically prefer to branch out of the hotels I stay in to explore the town, but I had actually stumbled upon Saltrock during my Yelp search for food, and was naturally attracted to what it had to offer. We were not disappointed. The ambience was cozy, there was a background guitarist soothing us with music as we dined on wine, meat & cheese boards, homemade guacamole and chips, fresh salads, and pork thigh entrees.
For breakfast, we stopped at BerryDivine Acai bowls. The service was slow, but if you’re not in a rush, this place has amazing granola acai bowls that will fill your belly full of nutrients and antioxidants. Paired with a coffee to go, we were satisfied and caffeinated for our hiking treks.
For dinner, we were craving Mexican food, so we went to Tortas De Fuego. The restaurant was more of a hole-in-the-wall, but man….! Fantastic food. I ordered chicken fajitas and a pork soup which were both very tasty. There was a ton of food that came with my entrée and the soup serving was a monstrous bowl, so if you’re looking for a lighter meal, your best bet is to split it with someone or order a-la-carte options.
Our return trip home was cancelled, so we had another opportunity to enjoy dinner in Arizona. We stayed close to the Phoenix airport and ordered dinner at True Food Kitchen at the Biltmore Mall. Holy smokes. Talk about INSANE quality of food. Everything was organic and seasonally grown. We started with a charred cauliflower dish. It was dressed in tahini dressing and came with medjool dates, dill, mint, and pistachio. For dinner I ordered the inside out Quinoa burger and Sahand ordered the grass-fed burger with avocado. All of the food was mouth watering. I highly recommended this restaurant if you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient dense dinner.
Sahand and I really appreciated the diversity in topography of Arizona. We couldn’t get enough of the breathtaking red rock, big open sky, and desert landscape. If you have a long weekend or 4+ days off and want to stay domestic to the US, I highly recommend considering Sedona, AZ as your next destination.