Hey friends! How’s your weekend going? Do you have anything exiting going on? I always love to hear about what you’re up to. Ours is pretty low key, so I’m sitting here reminiscing about our Sedona weekend getaway a few weeks ago. I’m so grateful we managed to squeeze it in while mom was here visiting.
Let me just start by saying that one weekend in Sedona was absolutely not enough. This is not the place to rush through sightseeing attractions. You’d want to spend some time taking in the beauty and peacefulness of the magnificent red cliffs and the unlimited space around you.
It’s no wonder that the locals call Sedona “a cathedral without walls” (source).
Our goals this time were a little different from the traditional relaxing experience. We were on a mission to explore! I like to expose kids to new experiences through travel. It’s a great bonding experience and expands their horizons.This is something my family did for me when I was little and it definitely contributed to shaping me as a person.
We only had a little over 24 hours in Sedona and we had to make the most of it. So our plan was to attempt a small hiking trip, visit one park and get to the top of at least one magnificent cliff. Here’s how we did it in one weekend.
(The obligatory car selfie on the way out)
By the time we got to Sedona and settled in our hotel, it was 4 PM. Both kids were antsy after a 5 hour drive (we took our time on the road and stopped in Phoenix for lunch). The hotel staff recommended the Sunset park with a huge playground, and it was perfect to run the wiggles out.
While the kids played, I soaked in the beauty of massive red rocks surrounding us. It was unreal.
The next day and a half was filled with fun, laughter, special memories, exploring and lots of red rocks in our pockets. If our little trip (and all the cool pics) inspired you to make a Sedona weekend getaway, here are a few things to get you started.
Tips for a Sedona Weekend Getaway
I definitely recommend staying at a central location. This way you’ll be minutes away from the best restaurants and must-see scenic views. There are lots of good options along Arizona State Route 89A, which is one of the main roads stretching through the town.
We stayed at Sedona Real Inn & Suites and couldn’t be happier. They serve amazing complimentary breakfast and the views from the hotel are breath-taking.
But what made this place stand out in my eyes was the helpfulness and kindness of their staff. When we checked in, the lady at the front desk went above and beyond to accommodate us. I thought she was just a really sweet person. But then the next morning, the other gentleman was equally as sweet and helpful.
Ever since adopting a healthy lifestyle, I like to do my research about restaurants in the area in advance of a trip (#TypeA lol). This way we have a list of places on hand and can avoid scrambling for a good meal at the last minute.
What I found out was that Sedona is filled with locally-sourced and organic eateries. Here’s what was on my list:
- Picazzo’s Italian Kitchen – serving traditional Italian dishes, fresh locally-sources salads, vegetarian options, gluten-free pasta, and home-made pizza. We didn’t make it this time, so hopefully we’ll eat here next time.
- ChocolateTree Organic Eatery – it was recommended by the hotel staff and we decided to eat lunch here. I must admit, this place was quite an experience and we will undoubtedly be back again.
The Chocolate Tree is an eclectic restaurant with a lovely outside “garden-style” patio. They serve vegetarian American fare and sweet treats free of gluten or processed sugar. The patio was so lovely and shielded us from the heat of the sun. Wind spinners gently chimed in the background, and there was something very relaxing and peaceful in the atmosphere.
Don’t be intimidated by the “vegetarian” part if your family members are not into this lifestyle. We found plenty of delicious menu items for all of us. While kids enjoyed their corn chowder and mashed potatoes, I indulged in the Green Goddess salad.
It was packed with fresh greens, massaged kale, cucumbers, avocado, sprouts and sprouted seeds. It is served with cilantro vinaigrette dressing. But I wanted something creamy, and the waiter suggested almond Thai peanut sauce. It was everything.
The portion was huge and I planned on taking half to go. But somehow the entire plate disappeared before I knew it. I called the waiter and told him it was one of the best salads I’ve ever tried.
Meanwhile my mom went wtih Sedona 2012 Enchilada. It came a little too spicy for her taste, and the waiter kindly offered to make her another plate. It was filled with sweet potato, basmati rice, and three bean chili.
While we waited for mom’s second plate, the kids took advantage of a nice little play area. Dmitri soon discovered the rope and was soon swinging on it to entertainment of restaurant guests.
On the way out, we checked out a little gift shop inside the restaurant. I was so tempted to get one of those bottles!
… and made sure to grab some dessert. After all the place has “chocolate” in the name.
They also sell a variety of chocolate candy. Of course we couldn’t pass on this opportunity. Kids picked strawberry filled dark chocolate pieces and I went with the truffle. It was legendary. On the way out I regretted not getting more to go. We must be back.
(Post lunch siesta a.k.a food coma outside of The Chocolate Tree House)
- WholeFoods was also on my list. Their hot and cold buffet bar is always a good back up when you want to grab a quick and healthy meal to go. Plus they make mean smoothies and fresh squeezed juices. It was nice to know there was one just minutes away from our hotel.
Must-See Kid-Friendly Things .
Sedona is filled with astonishing scenic lookouts, legendary hiking trails and all kinds of outdoor opportunities. Since we only had a day and a half, we focused on the must-see kid-friendly attractions.
There is a 25 minute scenic loop from AZ Route 89A that takes you through Sedona’s unique landscape. If you can, park at the Red Rock State Park’s Visitor’s Center. There is a scenic overlook and a cute gift shop with interactive information about why the red rocks were formed. We wanted to know!
Dmitri was all about looking through the telescope, while Maria just wanted to run around.
From the Visitor’s Center, we headed down a paved road with the purpose of finding some adventures. We weren’t exactly equipped for a long hike through a dessert terrain but we did find a little trail that looked fun and safe for the four of us.
To our surprise it lead us to a little creek.
It was so unexpected to find all the greenery hiding in between the massive red rocks!
My poor desert children both had their mouths open the entire time.
(matching stripes <3)
We spent some time walking the bridge, chasing crickets, exploring the trail and just taking it all in.
Maria impressed me by being very cautious in new surroundings. She spent the majority of our time in my arms, and only on the way out had the confidence to walk on foot.
(counting my blessings)
The trail continued after the bridge but we soon returned. I gave myself a word to come back here again fully equipped with hiking gear and boots.
If there is one scenic view you have to see in Sedona, it would be this one. There is parking along the road, and after a short five minute hike up the rocks you are rewarded with this view:
The photo doesn’t do it justice. Magnificent red cliffs fill you with energy and make you think deep thoughts. Standing on top of the mountain, you surrender to nature, to how grand it is.
We just stood there and stared, taking it all in. Now I understand why Sedona is famous for spiritual healing and vortex meditation.
Kids, in the meanwhile, got busy with more trivial tasks. Namely, collecting rocks.
We brought pocketfuls of these surprisingly fragile rocks home. I saved them in little plastic bags with each of kids name, date and place collected. Call me cheesy, but I think it would be a great memory years down the road.
When the time came to hit the road back to Tucson, we were all wide eyed from new experiences and a little sad. It’s not a good-bye Sedona, it’s a “see you later”.
What are your favorite places for a weekend getaway? Have you been to Sedona? Since we’re – hopefully – coming back soon, I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Have a nice rest of your weekend!
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