What Not to Do in Sedona
One of the most beautiful places in America, Sedona, Arizona is often the first choice to visit for a vacation or for fulfilling the dream of relocating or purchasing a second home. It seems that every Sedona visitor comes armed with a list from friends or family that recites the things you must do if you ever visit Sedona. Like beauty, Sedona “must do’s” are in the eye of the beholder, and the DO’S are numerous and have been well covered. As much as we love this destination (and we really do!) we thought we’d offer some DON’TS to keep in mind:
Don’t bother to pack dressy clothes unless you are attending a Sedona wedding. There is almost no place you can go in Sedona that requires attire any fancier than your “nice jeans” and a shirt with sleeves. If you feel you must get a bit gussied up, perhaps for dinner at L'Auberge, ladies might want to don a top and skirt, and gentlemen will be properly attired in a sport coat with an open-collared shirt (no neckties!)
Don’t book your hotel or bed and breakfast based solely on the views from the accommodations. There are views everywhere you go in Sedona, and we promise your vacation album will include dozens of picturesque photo-ops beyond the boundaries of your guest room balcony.
Don’t think that you must stay longer than 5 nights per trip to Sedona; even a 4-night stay is a stretch. The average length of stay in Sedona is about 2.5 nights, and most visitors come back a second, third, or twentieth time. Learn from all the visitors who have come before you: there are over a hundred things to do in Sedona and the Verde Valley, but you need not do them all in one trip.
Don’t be afraid to “bookend” your Sedona visit; book a stay in Sedona for 1 or 2 nights on either side of a driving tour of the Grand Canyon / Grand Circle vacation. Spend a couple nights at the South Rim, and even up to the national parks of southern Utah, but return to Sedona for a restorative stay before heading home. Some lodging owners even offer discounts for this kind of bookend itinerary.
Don’t try to go without renting a car or hiring your own independent transportation. Shuttles to Sedona from Phoenix and vice versa are a great way to get up and back, but Sedona is a city that’s spread across 18 square miles with little to no public transportation options. You will miss out on 80% of the beauty of the area if you relegate yourself to just the Uptown Sedona scene that’s accessible on foot, for example. You don’t want to miss the chance to see West Sedona, Boynton Canyon, Red Rock State Park, the Village of Oak Creek or Oak Creek Canyon, do you? No, you don’t, so trust us and rent a car upon arrival at the airport or as soon as you arrive in Sedona.
Don’t try to take a regular rental car onto back country roads and Jeep tour trails. They’ll probably be challenged to make the Sedona hills or they may become damaged; damage to these rental vehicles can be pricey and are the sole responsibility of the renter. If your plan is to take a car off road, speak to a Jeep or vehicle rental company that specializes in this kind of rental. Talk to your hotel’s concierge or innkeeper to find a reputable company, look the vehicle over carefully before you rent to make certain the vehicle is in good repair and able to handle the trek, and listen to the rental company’s advice on how to drive on steeply graded, loose gravel trails.
Don’t wait until the last day of your stay to take the Sedona Trolley or a Sedona Jeep tour. These two classic Sedona tours are available from excellent, reputable and knowledgeable providers and will instantly help you understand the lay of the land in Sedona. The trolley tours allow you to hop-on, hop-off along the trolley route, taking in the area’s shopping, dining and photography opportunities at your own pace. Jeep tours will get you to some of the best photography spots, many on the sides of mountains not accessible by any other means, and you’re also likely to get an excellent education on the area’s ancient people, sites, mythology, geography, animals and plant life.
One final thing to absolutely avoid: Do not illegally park in a handicap parking space in Sedona! Not even for a quick trip to a store or to the bank and never at a hotel. The Sedona Police must issue a ticket for this violation of state and federal law and they most certainly will. A total waste of money and act of disrespect for those who have a legal right to the spots; just don’t do it.
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