Four Days of Adventure and Romance in Sedona & Grand Canyon

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Advisor - Stephanie Vaughn
Curated By

Stephanie Vaughn

  • Sedona

  • The Grand Canyon

  • Arizona

  • USA

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Arts & Culture

  • Bucket List-Worthy

  • National Park

  • Hiking

the red rock and desert bush of the Grand Canyon shadowed by a leaning tree with mountains in the distance on a clear blue day
Curator’s statement

Sedona is the perfect place to combine adventure, relaxation, and romance on a trip. Sedona is known for its picturesque landscape - the red rocks are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s almost magical, and many point to this place as a source of spiritual energy due to the various energy vortexes you can find. If you need to recharge or reconnect with yourself or your partner, this is THE PLACE.

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Day 1: The inaugural hike

canyon trail with blue sky

Get your rental car from Phoenix airport and enjoy the drive up to Sedona. Check into your hotel, grab a quick bite to eat, put on your hiking gear and let’s get going! Hiking options are abundant among these beautiful red rocks, so find a quick trail that’s near your hotel to get your legs moving after that flight. If you’re staying at Enchantment Resort (which I HIGHLY recommend), start off with Boyton Canyon trail, which is walking distance from the hotel. If you’re staying closer to town (like at L’Auberge or the Hilton Bell Rock), opt for the Bell Rock trail.

To continue admiring the landscape, grab some wine and snacks and head over to Airport Mesa, and set up a romantic picnic to watch the sunset over the stunning red rocks.

Have a late dinner at Mariposa (reservations recommended) for an upscale dining experience at this Latin-inspired grill. Chef Lisa Dahl is famous in the area and has several awesome spots throughout Sedona. Start your meal with any of the amazing cocktails on the menu, and order tapas to share. I recommend the Pescado Paradiso for your entree.

Day 2: Devil’s Bridge and a magical recovery

natural bridge made of red rock amidst canyon

Wake up early, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at your hotel and get ready to hit the trail. Today you should hit the most iconic trail in Sedona - Devil’s Bridge. If you’re traveling during a peak time in Sedona (spring or fall), you HAVE to get there early for this one. Parking is limited, and the trail gets pretty packed later in the day, so to enjoy it the most, go first thing in the morning. The trail will take you several hours, but it is SO worth it. And make sure you take a picture at the top when you reach the Bridge. It’s amazing.

After your hike, recharge at the Coffee Pot Cafe before heading over to Crystal Magic to get in touch with your spiritual side and learn about crystal energy. Even if this isn’t your “thing”, I highly recommend this shop - we could have spent hours in here!

In the afternoon, schedule a spa appointment at your hotel if it has a spa, or at a local place like Sedona’s New Day Spa. Enjoy a massage to loosen up those hiking muscles, and tap into complete relaxation.

After some serious R&R, continue your zen state by having dinner at Cress on Oak Creek (reservations required). To elevate the evening, you must get a table outside, which lines the creek and creates the most romantic and relaxing ambiance. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but it is a fine dining spot and the prices definitely reflect that! It’s so worth it though, especially if you are celebrating anything special on your trip. There isn’t much nightlife in Sedona, so enjoy a nightcap at the bar after dinner and head back to your hotel to rest up for another active day!

Day 3: Grand Canyon and stargazing

the grand canyon on a hazy sunny day

Today, we venture to the Grand Canyon. It’s a 2 hour, 15 minute drive to the South Rim, which is a perfect entry point for a quick day in this National Park. If you’re catching on to a theme here, you must go early! Try to arrive at the park by 9am if you can in order to get the most out of your visit. Park by the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and walk straight to Mather Point to see the view before the crowds pick up. This is a very popular tour bus destination within the park, so it will get very crowded as the day wears on. Once you’ve stared in awe for a bit, walk the Rim Trail or hop on one of the bus routes to walk different parts of the Rim Trail.

On your way back to Sedona, stop in Flagstaff for some lunch and a beer at Pizzicletta by Dark Sky. Walk around and stop at another brewery or two, like Mother Road Brewing Company or Lumberyard Brewing.

If you’re in Flagstaff at sunset, I recommend popping up to Lowell Observatory for stargazing before you head back to Sedona. Sedona and Flagstaff are both considered International Dark Sky cities, which means they protect the skies from excess light pollution so that more stars can be seen. Because of this, star gazing is a MUST on your trip!

Lowell Observatory is a famous spot for stargazing (Pluto was discovered there!), but many hotels in Sedona also offer stargazing, so if you leave Flagstaff earlier in the day and can’t hit Lowell, you should do star gazing at your hotel tonight. Some hotels offer free stargazing (like the Enchantment Resort on Tuesdays and Saturdays), or offer private stargazing experiences for a fee.

If you’re staying at the Enchantment, grab a casual dinner at the onsite option, Tii Gavo, for this night.

Day 4: Cathedral Rock and explore Sedona

small village plaza shaded by trees

For your final day in Sedona, get your last morning hike in at another quintessential spot, Cathedral Rock. This is an awesome hike to end your trip on, but to keep with the theme, you have to go early! The parking lot will fill up quickly and if it’s full, you’ll have to do a park-and-ride option at the SR 179 lot and take the free shuttle in, which is still worth it, but adds a few more logistics to the mix. The hike will take you around 1 to 2 hours and includes some rock scrambling, which was a fun change of pace. The view is next level, and there’s an awesome photo op at the end. This is a great way to cap off your hiking for the trip!

After your hike, head up to Tlaquepaque Arts shopping village and have an early lunch at The Secret Garden Café. Then spend a few hours ambling around, admiring the art galleries and checking out the shops.

For dinner on your last night, check out either Elote or Cucina Rustica. Elote can book up well in advance so make sure you’ve gotten a reservation. It is a delicious Southwestern & Mexican spot and is one of the most popular in Sedona. Everything on the menu is A+. Cucina Rustica, another Lisa Dahl establishment, is a romantic Italian option that is decorated as if you are dining al fresco in Italy. The food was outstanding.

Have a toast to your successful trip while sitting by the fire at your hotel roasting marshmallows. Get some rest and be ready to leave Sedona feeling restored and rejuvenated!

Advisor - Stephanie Vaughn

Travel Advisor

Stephanie Vaughn

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This itinerary is part of our ongoing series on travel to Sedona. For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Lauren Martins' guide, Adventure in the American Southwest.