If you only have one day to explore Sedona, there are a few essential things you MUST do to get the most out of your day trip. This one-day itinerary assumes you have a budget of at least $100 per person to spend on a guided tour, meals and miscellaneous.
Get here early. You'll want to get as much out of your one-day trip as possible, so plan to arrive in Sedona, from where-ever your trip begins, by as early as 7:00 a.m.
Buy a Red Rock Pass. This essential $5/day pass is available at dozens of businesses, hotels and kiosks, allowing you to park at myriad trailheads and public use areas. While you're at it, get a little extra cash to pay for Day Use Fees at Arizona state parks and recreation areas that aren't covered by the Red Rock Pass.
Take a Jeep tour and see parts of the desert you may not have an opportunity to see otherwise.
Ride the Sedona Trolley. If you aren't interested in a Jeep tour, this city and scenic tour on the Sedona Trolley is “The Best First Thing to Do in Sedona!”
Visit Red Rock Crossing, the most photographed place in Sedona. With views of Oak Creek from the base of majestic Cathedral Rock, this spot is best enjoyed with a picnic at Crescent Moon Picnic Area (a Day Use Fee area.)
Hike to a vortex. See if you experience areas of concentrated energy rising from the earth at the five reported vortex sites in Sedona. You may feel a range of sensations from a slight tingling on exposed skin, to a vibration emanating from the ground when you encounter a vortex. Most often a vortex is reported to create a palpable sensation across the nape of the neck and shoulder blades. A drive up to Airport Mesa will do double duty as a must-see overlook and photography spot, as well as having a short hike to a popular vortex spot.
Visit Red Rock Crossing. One of the most photographed scenes in the southwest is towering Cathedral Rock reflected in the waters of Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing. It should come as no surprise that the picnic area located at that same site is as popular as it is beautiful.
Shop ‘til you drop at several shopping areas in Sedona including:
Tlaquepaque (pronounced Talah-keh-pah-keh), Sedona Arizona’s Arts and Crafts Village, an authentically-fashioned traditional Mexican village.
Sedona Main Street is a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly destination that embraces the beauty of the surrounding red rocks and creates a unique experience for all to enjoy.
Hillside Sedona is Sedona’s premier shopping and dining destination! You will find some of the most prestigious art galleries in the Southwest, award-winning dining, quality high fashion clothing for both men and women, unique specialty shops, wine tasting from around the world and distinguishing home decor.
Drive up Oak Creek Canyon and back. The stretch of Highway 89A that runs between Uptown Sedona and the I-17 turnoff to Flagstaff is a breath-taking, meandering and sometimes twisting scenic drive that is not to be missed. Stop at the Oak Creek Canyon Vista overlook at the top to get a great perspective on the switchbacks and steep Canyon walls below. Along the way, stop at Slide Rock State Park (a Day Use Fee site) for some swimming, easy hiking and historical sites. Or hike a bit of the West Fork Trail, and grab a snack at Indian Gardens.
Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This non-denominational church boldly juts out from its red rock foothold, presiding over the entire landscape of Sedona. Many say that they feel the powerful Earth energy of Sedona here more than any other place, because of its solemnity and inspiring views, particularly in the late-afternoon or at sunset.
Walk the Bell Rock Pathway. Before you leave town through the Village of Oak Creek (if you're headed south), stop at Bell Rock to walk the pathway. Many visitors say that the vortex energy here is strong, and even if you don't experience a physical sensation, you'll enjoy the easy walk around this distinctively-shaped monolith before you have to (reluctantly) say good-bye to Sedona... until next time.