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updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

franklin lakes, nj
Level Contributor
408 posts
37 reviews
updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

I just booked a night in the Yavapai.

Flying into Phoenix on Wednesday. I just found out we land at 12:30 - hopefully we can do a quick hike in Sedona, see the sunset at Airport Mesa, is that the place to go? Or will it be too crowded with people?

Do I need to make restaurant reservations in advance?

We will stay Wednesday night in Sedona and then drive to Grand Canyon on Thursday, enter through the east and I believe that is where we must drive for the overlooks? I haven't researched much about GNP yet and I know this isn't the forum to discuss. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can see a beautiful sunset. Haven't figured out dinner yet. We will stay overnight at Yavapai, hopefully see a beautiful sunrise and do some hiking in the south rim and drive back to Sedona, stay Friday and Saturday night in Sedona.

Any suggestions for breakfast or lunch to pick up on the way to the Grand Canyon on Thursday?

Should I pick two different places to stay in Sedona? I know there are different areas within Sedona that we can stay - any suggestions on which area to choose? We may get our fill of hiking on Wednesday and at the Grand Canyon on Thursday and Friday so any suggestions for other activities aside from hiking while in Sedona would be appreciated.

I briefly noticed mentions about the Vortex's? Is there a rafting company that anyone recommends?

4 replies to this topic
Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
67,346 posts
250 reviews
1. Re: updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

Replied in your other thread.

Level Contributor
39,483 posts
1,021 reviews
2. Re: updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

We enjoyed meals at Tii Gavo, Mariposa, Cress & Cowboy Club. Amara in Uptown is a great place to stay. The Pink Jeep Tours are lots of fun for an activity. 🌵

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,251 posts
814 reviews
3. Re: updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

How much time do you actually have for Sedona? 1/2 day, then the overnight in GC...then what? Are you coming back and for how long.

You do not have to move hotels in Sedona. As you mentioned, Sedona area has several areas to explore which are short drives apart. We prefer staying in West Sedona, Airport Mesa or down near the Village of Oak Creek. We don't enjoy staying up the canyon or Uptown because of the traffic tie ups...plus we generally like quieter areas with the best views of the rock formations.

How you do plan your time in Sedona will depend on which hotel you actually choose. I would visit Airport Mesa but would NOT advise Sunset there in spite of what seems to be a trend. There is very limited parking, few overlooks, sometimes rude crowds jostling to get photo shots and the views have businesses, homes and other buildings to interfere with scenic photos. Try for Sunset one night at Red Rock Crossing instead. Sunset can be excellent from nearly any location slightly west of town where you can find a nice view and parking.


You may have seen this before but it seems to include answers to some of the questions you asked about both GC and Sedona. You just work around it according to what fits your own tastes.

Look at the following to get a general idea of what you can do and where things are located. It includes a day-trip to Grand Canyon if you choose.


There are 5 basic areas in/near Sedona to visit and you can group things together accordingly to avoid a lot of backtracking or multiple trips/delays at the Uptown traffic circles.

On the way up from Phoenix...if you have time or it looks interesting to you, stop at Montezuma's Castle before you take the #179 into Sedona. Its a unique cliff dwelling and a very easy walk up to it and back. https://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm

If you have an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass or the "real bargain" Senior NP pass, great. If not buy one. The Senior Pass works for a lifetime for over 2,000 federal parks and National Forest areas. For this trip now, it works for Grand Canyon and all of the National Monuments you may be visiting near Sedona and Grand Canyon. It also works as a Sedona Parking pass. Just not State Parks or independently run areas like Red Rock Crossing and the parking at West Fork.


1...To the south: The Red Rock Byway the #179 from the Village of Oak Creek to Sedona Uptown. You will come first to the Ranger Station Visitor's Center just before you reach the Village of Oak Creek. If you skipped Montezuma's Castle...Stop to pick up all kinds of area information and free trail maps. Along the 179 are the exceptionally beautiful Bell Rock area, with its easy pathway and many connecting trails, the architecural wonder of Chapel of the Holy Cross and the Tlaquepaque adobe-style gallery and dining village under the big trees.


Restaurants in/near Village of Oak Creek, Red Rock Cafe, PJ's pub, Cucina Rustica and some fast food.


2...Oak Creek Canyon: The canyon drive from Uptown, past Midgley Bridge, its box canyon trail, all the way to West Fork for its famous canon/creek Hiking...expect to get wet feet. Also along there is Slide Rock State Park for kids (somewhat messy) and Garland's for really nice Native art and jewelry. That is also the route you take when you are going to and coming back from Grand Canyon.



3...The area west of West Sedona:

A....That includes Airport Mesa Drive with its Big Red Knoll, loop trail and overlooks. Best done in the morning and NOT at sunset. Too crowded with selfie taking visitors and limited parking...views also have buildings and homes in the way of the red rocks.

B...The Dry Creek/Boynton Canyon Scenic byway, a right hand turn off of the 89A out along the red rock cliffs to the famous Enchantment Resort. It is an in-and-out drive and not a circle drive. You know how scenic it must be for that resort to be out there. Out there too are the Devil's Bridge (too busy at times and daredevils can ruin the day), Fay, Boynton and Long Canyon hikes plus others. Drinks or a meal at Enchantment would be a treat for views alone...no need to be guests.

C...The Red Rock Loop drive is further out the 89A past the Dry Creek area. Its a left hand turn...enter the loop drive at Lower RR Loop drive...its further west....make the circle for views and photos. https://sedonadrivetours.com/map.htm

D...It is also out there where you will find the renowned Red Rock Crossing/Crescent Moon Park along the Upper RR Loop drive. That is great for the creek-walk, Buddha Beach (rock cairns) and the **classic sunset or daylight views of Cathedral Rock with the creek in the foreground.

It also has a nice picnic area and nice restrooms. Expect that to cost $10 as it is not included in the parking pass program. Great place for kids to wade in the creek. The classic view is across the meadow, down by the creek behind the first restroom just after you pass through the entrance gate. Google images of RRC.

A spectacular option for after sunset...Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. Or if you want to watch sunset from there on another day, make reservations for the outdoor patio...at least an hour or so before the actual sunset time.


4...Uptown...for some more touristy, yet fun shops, the Cowboy Club and other restaurants and the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow off-road tours, Ancient Ruins tour or its newly listed On-Pavement tour. Or Red Rock Western tours, the Magic Red on-pavement Trolley tours. Look for Snoopy Rock from there.

Pink Jeep https:/… http://www.redrockjeep.com http://www.redrockmagictrolley.com


5...For a day trip west of West Sedona, you can include some or all of the following. The Verde Canyon railroad tour, seasonally, the Verde Valley wine trail, Toozigoot National Monument, Blazin'M Western Cookout and village, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, Cottonwood for antiquing, wine tasting and the quaint town of Jerome, now an arts and restored mining town up on a hillside. *Its easy to combine Toozigoot, Cottonwood and Jerome with sunset later at Red Rock Crossing.











We make the Grand Canyon loop drive nearly every time we come to the area. It will take all day or better yet, an overnight.

1...Leave Sedona fairly early after breakfast via the 89A to Flagstaff.

2...Take the 89 north from Flagstaff, but also take the Sunset Crater and Wupatki Ruins National Monument loop drive along the way. It is a very interesting drive and both have easy access to walks to the lava field and to two or three stunning ruins at Wupatki. Both are nothing at all similar to what you will see at GC. Great photo ops from easy walks to the ruins.http://www.arizona-leisure.com/wupatki-ruins.html

3...After the loop, take the 89 again and stop at the Historic Cameron Trading Post for lunch and a look about. The stone gallery north of the parking lot is all certified Native-made art of all kinds. https://www.camerontradingpost.com

4...Enter the park using the east gate via the #64...the Desert Rim Drive. Begin with the Watchtower/Desert View. You will be making all right hand turns to the overlooks, so no waiting for traffic. If you are enjoying an overlook, stay and enjoy it. Don't feel obligated to rush to the next one or to every single one...they are all actually quite similar. Grandview, Lipan Point and the area around the Village and the El Tovar Hotel are musts. There is the visitor's center, museum and trading post there that are fun to visit. The Trading Post and some of the other stone buildings are historic. A meal at the El Tovar after sunset or for breakfast might be nice.

5...You do not have to take the shuttles west to Hermit's Rest that same day.

Since you ARE overnighting...then watch sunset, have a picnic during the sunset, or dinner after that at El Tovar. Then sunrise and do take the shuttles west, hiking where you choose. You can also rent bikes to ride the west rim drive area. https:/…hermit-red-route.htm http://bikegrandcanyon.com

6...Finally from Williams take the I-40 back to Flagstaff and down the Oak Creek Canyon drive (89A) again to Sedona. Plan to complete the Oak Creek Canyon drive before darkness.

franklin lakes, nj
Level Contributor
408 posts
37 reviews
4. Re: updated itinerary - lodging and activity suggestions

Hi MaryEllenM27

Yes!!! I have seen your amazingly helpful post with the itinerary breakdown. It is wonderful!

The reason I was asking if we should stay in two different places in Sedona is because, I didn't want to drive from Grand Canyon to Phoenix on my flight day home.

So we will land in Phoenix at 12:30pm Get a rental car somewhere....haven't looked into that yet. and drive to Sedona from the airport on Wednesday. Hoping to get to Sedona around 3pm. I'm sure we will want to do some type of activity that gets the legs moving after our flight from New Jersey - and the drive from the airport.

I was thinking some type of hike...preferably one that would offer a nice sunset view and then get dinner.

We will be checking out of wherever we stay for that night, and drive Thursday morning to GNP. I believe entering the east and working our way around. I have reserved a room at the Yavapai Lodge for Friday night, taking everyone's advice on staying the night to see the sunset and sunrise. We will spend Friday at Grand Canyon and drive back to Sedona Friday, before it gets dark.....which I believe in October, the latest we should leave is 4 pm.

So that leaves us Friday night and Saturday day in Sedona. So I will need a place to stay those two nights.

I was trying to figure out if I should just return to the place we stayed at Wednesday night or choose a differnet place.

Since we realy will only be sleeping in the hotel on Wenesday night - it doesn't have to be anything special.

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