The Best of Sedona

It’s not only the brilliant glow of orange and red in the display of beautiful sandstone formations that makes a trip to Sedona worth the 125 mile journey from Scottsdale. The array of top restaurants, hotels and stunning landmarks make it one of the best stops on any Arizona road trip. Often named one of the most beautiful places in America, Sedona is the perfect combination of breathtaking outdoor backdrops and pampered luxury. The best of Sedona includes hiking beautiful views.

350 Jordan Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
After a hard day of hiking the myriad trails through Sedona’s gorgeous red rock country, my friend and I earned a dining experience where calories did not count. Everyone recommended Elote Cafe. Thank you, everyone, for one of the finest meals I’ve ever earned. The menu at Elote (translation: roasted corn on the cob, or corn cob) features several unique and flavorful corn dishes quite beyond traditional Mexican fare. The restaurant’s namesake appetizer is out of this world: fire-roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime, and Mexican Cotija cheese. Pictured is one of the entrees, the grilled wild Mexican shrimp in a spinach-chipotle cream sauce. Wow! For dessert, I decided on the pastel de elote — a warm, sweet corn cake with dulce de leche, raspberry jam, and vanilla ice cream. Happy birthday to me (oh, BTW, it was my birthday!). From the drinks menu (remember, no calories, AND birthday), I sampled the homemade blood orange limeade, as well as the best Mojito to be found outside of Cuba. For after dinner (pictured at right): a shot of Agavero, a sublime tequila liqueur flavored with extract of the Damiana flower. Also noteworthy was the warm, earthy atmosphere, with glowing copper tabletops. Reservations are not currently accepted, so be prepared for a wait!
336 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Named after an artistic city in central Mexico, Sedona’s Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village is one of the best outdoor shopping spots in Arizona. Sycamore-shaded fountain-filled courtyards and vine-covered colonnades are home to over forty galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. (The architecture may only be a few decades old, but this is one of the most well-done ‘pseudo-Mexico villages’ in the U.S.) The emphasis is on Southwest sculpture, blown-glass, painting, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry. If you want to take a break from your red-rock ramblings, this is the place.
301 Little Ln, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
A few minutes from the shops, galleries, and restaurants of Sedona, but tucked away along the banks of quiet-flowing Oak Creek, L’Auberge de Sedona is one of the Southwest’s most romantic hideaways. It has red-rock views, as every accommodation in Sedona must, but its French-country-inn style, in the land of adobe architecture, and its leafy, creekside location, are what define it. Through a series of chefs, its restaurant, Cress on Oak Creek, has maintained a stellar reputation, in no small part because of the romance of dining at a table that in some cases is practically in Oak Creek. And the spa, L’Apothecary, with at least one seasonally offered treatment requiring guests to wade in up to their ankles, draws much of its essence from the creek, too. Extensive renovations done in 2011 included the redesign of the 58 rooms and cottages, and the addition of 29 more, many with fireplaces, private decks, and—because romance matters—outdoor cedar-lined showers. Still there, and still popular, are the early morning duck feedings and the nighttime telescope sessions with a professional astronomer.
Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Color, shape, and naked geology: Northern Arizona appeals to the senses in the most elemental ways. Agnostic hikers, secular scientists, souls searching for spiritual energy — all end up in Sedona, seeking and finding. Mid-week in this red-rock country, we found a few days of calm: early morning trails around town, and afternoons in galleries seeking shelter from summer thunderstorms. Weekends bring crowds from Phoenix, just two hours to the south, but away from pavement, you can still get away into the elements.
Flagstaff, AZ, AZ, USA
As Phoenix heats up, many locals are desperate to escape the desert’s barren landscape and head north to Sedona. Only a two-hour drive from the city, on average, Sedona sees about 60% local valley traffic over the weekends. Route 89A, leading up to Flagstaff, provides many opportunities to veer off course and wander the many trailheads in Sedona. One particular trail is the West Fork Oak Creek Trail. Temperatures are at least 20 degrees cooler here and provides relief from the consistent 101-115 temps. You’ll find water holes and rivers and shade under the evergreens to keep cool and refreshed. Pack a picnic and spend a few hours exploring this trail as it weaves and winds through the forest and up against cliffs and the water’s edge. Hop from rock to rock crossing the stream at five different points along the trail. You won’t sweat too much here as it’s a fairly easy 3 mile stroll. You’ll know when you get to the end of the marked trail - it ventures on but I have yet to figure out how to follow it further to its 14-mile stretch. $9 entrance fee for the day. Word of advice: Get there EARLY to find parking during the weekend and summer months.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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