Sure Sedona is a magical destination (perhaps quite literally if the tales about the vortexes are to be believed) but did you know that it’s also well-located for exploring the beauty of the surrounding regions? Explore these spectacular day trips from Sedona.
The captivating city of Sedona is nestled in the heart of Arizona. With towering red rocks giving way to vast landscapes almost too big to feel real, it’s no wonder it’s a popular destination for tourists and Arizonians alike.
Oh, and let’s not forget the scenic spots in the surrounding regions either. Fortunately, the city is within easy reach of other incredible destinations, all of which means some serious day trip potential.
If you’re planning a trip to Sedona — or just passing through — don’t miss out on exploring the nearby attractions too.
Ready to explore? Add these day trips to your Arizona itinerary.
The Best Day Trips From Sedona
My favourite Sedona day trip? Without a doubt, Antelope Canyon.
This natural wonder is located about 158 miles away from Sedona and is one of the most popular day trips from the area. Mainly because you’ll witness a stunning slot canyon featuring swirling sandstone walls that centuries of wind and water erosion have carved.
A day trip from Sedona to Antelope Canyon takes you through narrow passages and offers you awe-inspiring views, which are incredibly stunning during the golden hour when the sun’s rays illuminate the canyon’s vibrant colours.
How to Get There: The easiest way to travel between the two is via car. The drive is simple, along the US-89 N.
Average journey duration: Around 3 hours.
Hassle-free option: Book This Antelope Canyon Tour
Interested in exploring the rich culture and history of the indigenous and sovereign people of the Hopi Lands? You should probably include this day trip from Sedona.
About 142 miles from Sedona, the Hopi Lands are home to some of North America’s oldest continuously inhabited villages (I’m talking over 2,000 years).
When here, you can tour the villages within the First to Third Mesas, explore the Hopi Cultural Center, and learn about Hopi crafts and customs.
How to Get There: Catch the Sedona Amtrak bus to Flagstaff, then the Grand Canyon National Park Amtrak Bus Stop. Walk to the Village Route Transfer, then shuttle to Hopi Point.
Average journey duration: 2 – 4 hours.
Hassle-free option: Book This Hopi Lands Tour
Grand Canyon National Park
You didn’t think I would skip the Grand Canyon, did you? A day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon is a must if you’re in Arizona.
Though it may not look like it, you’ll have plenty of things to do upon arrival. Walk along its rim, hike into the canyon, or even take a mule ride for a unique perspective of the vivid landscape.
How to Get There: Take a bus from Sedona’s Amtrak Bus Stop to the park on this day trip to the Grand Canyon from Sedona. Or, drive via the Grand Canyon Junction.
Average journey duration: 2 hours.
Hassle-free option: Book This Grand Canyon Tour
Montezuma National Monument
Explore Arizona’s wonders on your visit to Montezuma National Monument, just a short drive from Sedona. This ancient pueblo enchants with its rich history and culture. And you’ll soon see why.
The monument dates back 800 years and actually protects a set of well-preserved dwellings etched into the side of a cliff, used by the Sinagua people.
it’s a fascinating and educational experience – not to mention it’s one of the best things to do in Arizona.
How to Get There: It’s a short drive/taxi from Sedona.
Average journey duration: 40 minutes.
For a change of pace from Sedona’s serene red rocks, consider day-tripping to the bustling metropolis of Phoenix. With its exciting blend of urban culture and natural beauty, Phoenix is the best of both worlds.
Once you arrive in the city, the possibilities are endless.
For the history buff, check out the Heard Museum, which showcases the art and culture of Native American tribes from the Southwest. If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, visit Scottsdale Fashion Square, where you’ll find over 200 high-end stores and restaurants.
How to Get There: Catch a taxi from Sedona to Holiday Inn Express Oak Creek, then a bus with Groome Transportation. Continue on a shuttle to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and then a shuttle to Phoenix. Or, if you have your own car, the drive along via I-17 S is easy.
Average journey duration: 2 hours.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Looking for a half day trip from Sedona? Look no further than Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, just a short drive away.
While here, you can marvel at the rugged beauty of this extinct volcano (it’s a cinder cone, if you want to get fancy) and watch as the sun sets over the jagged horizon.
How to Get There: Take a local bus from Sedona’s Amtrak Bus Stop to Flagstaff, then catch a taxi from Flagstaff that’ll take you to the national monument.
Average journey duration: 1 hour
Hassle-free option: Book This Ruins & Volcanoes Tour
There’s an abundance of rugged beauty surrounding Sedona (and it’s great, don’t get me wrong), but sometimes you fancy wandering through somewhere a little bit more charming.
Look no further than Cottonwood. Located just a short drive away, you’ll adore Cottonwood’s historic town feel with plenty of character.
Stroll down Main Street and pop into its unique shops and galleries, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants. Oh, and don’t miss the delightful Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient pueblo site just a few miles from town.
How to Get There: Catch a bus via the Verde Shuttle to Cottonwood.
Average journey duration: About 30 minutes.
Hassle-free option: Book This Creek to Cocktails Tour
Another place you cannot miss near Sedona is the pretty mountain town of Flagstaff.
Outdoor activities reign supreme here – from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and snowboarding in winter.
And, while you definitely should strap in for an adventure, you also need to explore historic downtown Flagstaff, home to unique shops, galleries and plenty of delish restaurants.
How to Get There: Take the bus from Sedona Amtrak Bus Stop to Flagstaff.
Average journey duration: 1 hour.
If you’re a fan of the Eagles, you’ll certainly recognise the name of this quaint town. But even if you’re not, Winslow is an uber-charming spot worth a day trip.
Explore Standin’ on the Corner Park and snap a photo with the statue of Glenn Frey’s guitar-playing figure, inspired by the lyrics of the famous song One of These Nights.
While you’re there, explore the historic downtown and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, like the RelicRoad Brewing Company, for their craft beer and Caribbean-style shrimp tacos.
How to Get There: The easiest way is to drive via the I-17 and I-40 to get to Winslow, Arizona.
Average journey duration: 1 hour 30 minutes.
Verde Valley Loop
A scenic drive on the Verde Loop takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area. This 90-mi drive will take you through picturesque vineyards and quaint small towns – and oh-so stunning desert scenery.
Oh, and along the way, be sure to stop and explore the historic mining town of Jerome. You can enjoy a glass (or three) of local wine at one of the many wineries in the area.
How to Get There: Drive to the loop via I-17 to Camp Verde and travel through unrivalled beauty, passing via Old Town to Clarkdale and the Verde Canyon Railroad depot. Then, take State Road 89A north to Cottonwood, then State Route 89A to Sedona.
Average journey duration: 35 minutes.
Looking for some serious fun? Tempe is the hotspot in Arizona right now.
But this excitement comes at a cost time-wise. You’re looking at over 2 hours by car and over 4 with public transit. But who’s counting?
Tempe’s top breweries and diverse dining make it worthwhile. Fate and Four Peaks are my top picks for where to drink, while Top of the Rock restaurant is the best place to dine with epic views.
But it’s not all about fun, food and booze – Tempe Town Lake, with scenic paths and water sports, is also quite inviting.
How to Get There: Catch a taxi (or drive) from Sedona to the Holiday Inn Express Oak Creek and catch the bus to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Once you’ve arrived, catch a cab to 44th St/Ashington and ride the tram to Tempe.
Average journey duration: 2 to 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Walnut Canyon National Monument
With stunning views and plenty of history, Walnut Canyon National Monument is the perfect way to spend a day away from Sedona’s relative hustle and bustle.
That history I mentioned earlier? You’ll get to soak it up along the Island Trail, which takes you past ancient cliff dwellings and offers breathtaking canyon views. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the Rim Trail is a must-do, with even more impressive vistas.
How to Get There: Take the bus from the Sedona Amtrak Bus Stop to Flagstaff and then a taxi from Flagstaff to Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Average journey duration: 1 hour.
Much like Sedona’s breathtaking landscape, Mogollon Rim is a must-see geological wonder in Arizona.
This 200-mi-long cliff offers stunning views of the forest below, and is jam-packed with hiking trails, rock climbing or fishing spots in nearby streams.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks so you’re not thirsty and hungry – there’s not much around. That said, you’ll find the journey there to be an adventure in and of itself, with winding roads offering stunning views.
How to Get There: Finding public transportation to Mogollon Rim is challenging. It’s better to drive yourself along hwy 260.
Average journey duration: 2 to 3 hours.
Hassle-free option: Book This Colorado Plateau Tour
Lake Powell is a stunning oasis in the desert, perfect for day-tripping outdoor enthusiasts. Take my advice – before you get there, stop by Mariposa Latin-Inspired Grill on your way, and fill up with plenty of grub.
The stunning views from floor-to-ceiling windows, and the lunch menu, while short, was tasty AF.
Anyway, once you reach Lake Powell, you’ve got the option to rent a boat or kayak and float its waters.
There are plenty of trails, too – hiking along its sandstone cliffs is a magical experience well-worth the journey. Pack your swimsuit and sense of adventure for a fun day trip from Sedona.
How to Get There: After dining, catch a taxi to Lake Powell via National State Route 89A and West Arizona 89a for ±3 hours until you reach the Lake Shore Drive’s end near the Wahweap Recreation Area.
Average journey duration: 3 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes
I could fawn over Monument Valley for hours, so I’ll try and keep this concise. Those fortunate to have travelled to Monument Valley know it for its stunning red rock formations and rich cultural history.
On this day trip from Sedona to Monument Valley, you’ll learn about the area’s Navajo history and culture and explore the hiking trails. For most of the attractions, you’ll need a Navajo guide as the valley falls on sacred land – not to worry though, this makes it so much more interesting.
How to Get There: Book This Monument Valley Tour – trust me on this. It’s a long day.
Average journey duration: All day.
Wupatki National Monument
Looking to explore ancient ruins and immerse yourself in Arizona’s natural beauty? Look no further than Wupatki National Monument.
Home to well-preserved red-rock pueblo ruins, this national park offers a glimpse into the lives of the indigenous Sinagua people who lived in the area around 800 years ago.
The park’s expansive landscapes, including the towering Wupatki and Sunset Crater volcanoes, offer you breathtaking views and a unique glimpse into the region’s impressive geological history you won’t find elsewhere.
How to Get There: Catch the bus at Sedona’s Amtrak Bus Stop to Flagstaff. Then catch a taxi to Wupatki National Monument. Alternatively, the drive is simple.
Average journey duration: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Hassle-free option: Book This Ruins & Volcanoes Tour
Many know this charming town as the birthplace of Route 66, and it comes as no surprise. Classic diners, retro cars, and all sorts of American memorabilia line the streets of Seligman.
And with the 1950s Museum, and the notorious Roadkill Café, there’s plenty to explore and eat in this laidback town. Remember your camera – there are so many brilliant photo opportunities.
How to Get There: Take a short drive along the i-40 (recommended) or catch a bus from Sedona Amtrak Bus Stop connecting to Wiliams before taxiing to Seligman.
Average journey duration: 2 hours to 3 hours.
Don’t worry: I haven’t left out nature lovers. The Sonoran Desert is a must-see destination if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and appreciate nature.
Its incredible ecosystem is home to an impressive range of plants and animals. From its majestic saguaro cacti to its elusive bighorn sheep, you won’t feel alone amongst such lifeforms in the Sonoran Desert.
There’s even a river running through this stretch of barren land – yes, the Sonoran Desert is the wettest desert in the world. Pretty cool, I think.
How to Get There: Catch a taxi from Sedona to the Holiday Inn Express Oak Creek, a bus from Groome Transportation to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and a taxi to the desert.
Average journey duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Practical Tips for Easy Day Trips From Sedona
- Most of these day trips include plenty of walking and hikes. Read my guide to the best travel shoes to help you find your perfect pair. If in doubt, the Tropicfeel Geysers are my top pick.
- Research and plan your itinerary before your day trip. Prioritise activities, avoid cramming too much in one day and leave time for rest so you’re not overwhelmed.