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Ultimate 3 Days in Sedona, AZ Itinerary for an Unforgettable Trip

Apr 6, 2022

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With its red rocks, vortexes, and OOF don’t get me started on those *magical* cotton candy sunsets, Sedona is quite frankly my favorite place in Arizona. If you’re heading there for the first time, 3 days in Sedona is the perfect amount of time to see all the above and then some.

Seriously, though, once you experience Sedona’s magic, you probably won’t want to leave—just warning you!

Can you take me with you? I’m kidding, I’m kiiiidding! But can you take me with you? Ha!

This blog is my suggestion on the most puuurfecttt Sedona 3 day itinerary. As an AZ local, I’ve been to Red Rock Country enough to know the must and must-nots.

I wrote this itinerary so you can leave Sedona loving it just as much as I do!

I’ve set your itinerary up so you see all the “musts” and have a little bit of relaxing time between attractions. When you’re done reading this post, check out some of my other blogs that’ll help you plan your trip:

With that, let’s start with some helpful planning tips before we jump into the itinerary!

Girl sitting in a Campervan in Sedona

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. When you use my links to purchase, I receive a small commission at NO ADDITIONAL cost to you! Affiliate links help support me and my blogs. Thank you for being here!

Planning a 3 Day Trip to Sedona

Here’s a quick rundown of the nitty-gritty details you should be aware of before your 3 day trip to Sedona. 

  • 🌵Where is Sedona? Northern Arizona in Yavapai County and is about an hour’s drive south of Flagstaff, surrounded by the Coconino National Forest.
  • ✈️How to Get to Sedona: Fly into Flagstaff (1hr drive to Sedona) or Phoenix (2hr drive to Sedona). KAYAK can help you find cheap flights!
  • 🚙Rental Cars: KAYAK is great for vehicle rentals too!
  • 🚐Campervan Rental: Click here to rent a campervan!
  • 🌞Best Time to Visit: The best months to visit Sedona, AZ are October through April.
  • 🎟Fees: Some trails require a Red Rock Pass ($5)or you can use your America the Beautiful Interagency Pass.

Hotels & Vacation Rentals

The best part about Sedona accommodations is that they’re GORGEOUS and usually located right by all the goodies. Any of these hotels or Sedona vacation rental properties will work for your 3 day itinerary:

  • Amara Resort and Spa ($$$$) – This place is BOUJEE. I mean, the pool looks like it’s part of the red rocks. Speaking of rocks, one of the first things you’ll notice about this resort are the 360 red rock views. Not to mention, they have a famous spa. Great treat yo self kind of place.
  • Photo-Worthy Home in Central Sedona ($$$) – This BEAUTIFUL home is located in the heart of Sedona making it easy to go to and from attractions. Not to mention, the floor-to-ceiling dining room windows are a marvel.
  • Pet-Friendly Cottage ($$) – I love that this cottage is pet-friendly AND in the heart of some of the best hiking trails. Full kitchen and laundry included.
Beautiful VRBO in Sedona
Photo-Worthy Home in Central Sedona via VRBO

None of the above work for you? Check out these other hotels nestled in the red rocks!

Itinerary Map

Need a map? NO PROBLEM. Check out the one I made below!

Refer to this for your 3 perfect days in Sedona. You can click here to view a live version of the map!

3 day Sedona Itinerary Map

Your Sedona 3 Day Itinerary

Here is what the ideal 3 day Sedona itinerary looks like:

  • Day 1
    • Morning hike
    • Swim at Red Rock Crossing
    • Sunset at Lover’s Knoll
  • Day 2
    • Chapel of the Holy Cross
    • Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village
    • Helicopter Tour
    • Sunset at Airport Mesa
  • Day 3
    • Hike Doe Mountain
    • Relax at hotel
    • Depart

To start, we will assume that you flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor (the popular choice) and want to spend a long weekend in Sedona, AZ. Keep in mind that if you fly into Flagstaff or Sedona directly, your driving time will be much shorter. 

This itinerary works best if you arrive in AZ early on day 1. Your first 2 days in Sedona will be jam packed!

Day 3 is depart day.

Don’t forget these: sturdy hiking boots, a headlamp, a cute sun hat, comfy walking shoes, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and sunglasses.

Let’s begin!

Sunset in Sedona Arizona

Day 1 – Arrive in Sedona, AZ

Morning

Woohoo! You have just landed in PHX (preferably in the morning/ early afternoon), picked up your rental car, and prepared to boogie onto your Sedona 3 day itinerary! 

Your first task is to make the 2hr drive to Sedona, AZ. You will most likely be taking the 179 in, which means you will be passing through the Village of Oak Creek.

When you arrive at the Village of Oak Creek, you can stop for gas or use the restroom. Since Sedona is known for its hiking, I suggest jumping on a Sedona hiking trail!

Below is a list of trails you might want to consider. Make sure you grab a Red Rock Pass at the trailhead or online!

If you’re a national park lover and have your America the Beautiful Interagency Pass, you can hang that on your car, and skip the Red Rock Pass!

*Update*—To access the trailhead to some of these hikes, you might need to take the Sedona Shuttle (operates Thursday through Sunday, year round). The parking lots are CLOSED when the shuttle is running. Read more on SedonaShuttle.com.

  • Devil’s Bridge—A classic and beautiful sunrise hike, about 6 miles RT. 
  • Cathedral Rock Trail—Another iconic hike in Sedona and is known for being a Sedona Vortex.
  • Birthing Cave—Know for its tear-drop shape, and easy to get to, about 1.5 miles RT.
  • Soldier Pass to Seven Sacred Pools—Popular photo spot in Sedona that features 7 perfectly aligned pools.
  • Boynton Canyon Trail—Features a hidden cave and beautiful vistas, 6 miles round trip.
  • Bell Rock Climb—Leads you to the top of this landmark and is a great sunset spot.

For more info on any of these trails I suggest reading my blog on the best Sedona sunrise and sunset hikes!

Afternoon

A swim is a MUST in your Sedona 3 day itinerary! What better way to cool off after your hike than a little dip in a creek?

Hehehehe.

After your hike, head over to Red Rock Crossing! You can park at the Baldwin Trailhead down Verde Valley Road or park at the Crescent Moon Picnic Site to get here. 

Red Rock Crossing vortex is a great vantage point to watch the sunset on Cathedral Rock! If you choose to spend the rest of the day here, maybe stop at Whole Foods for some food and have a little picnic while you wait for the sun to go down. 

Grasshopper Point is another option, but parking can be such a hassle! If you want to go to Grasshopper Point, get to the park lot and wait for a spot to open or try to get there early afternoon.

Evening

Ready to end day 1 with a bang?

On a clear day, you can get a fantastic sunset at what’s called Lover’s Knoll, and NO HIKING IS REQUIRED… AND IT’S FREE.

YOU CAN DRIVE RIGHT UP TO IT.

It’s one of the best Instagram spots in Sedona, in case you were wondering ;). Secret Slickrock Trail is another sunset alternative and along the same route as Lover’s Knoll.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. If you choose to watch the sunset at Red Rock Crossing instead, save this for later!

Stop at the Whole Foods hot bar or head to Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen Sedona for dinner!

Day 2 – Explore the City

Morning

Day two will be more of a chill day that’ll let you explore more of Sedona’s cultural scene… and maybe end with some adventure—haha! Sedona’s Chapel of the Holy Cross is considered one of the most popular and sought-after attractions in Sedona, Arizona.

It was built in the 1950s, nestled between red rocks. 

It’s open from 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week, free to visit, and an easy Sedona vortex to get to! The Chapel Trail hike in the Holy Cross parking lot is a family favorite, too.

So check that out if you have time!

Up next is Tlaquepaque! I had no appreciation for it as a kid, but now I gravitate towards it, LOL. 

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village is included it in this Sedona itinerary because it’s a bit different from your usual Sedona attraction. They have a cute seashell shop from which I got a purple sea urchin (I love it).

You can stop here for photos, shopping, or relax in an outdoor seating area and read a book! Sometimes there is live music playing in Tlaquepaque.

You’ll love it for its beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere.

Give Pump House Station Urban Eatery and Market a go if you’re hungry! 

Afternoon

Ready to see Sedona from a different POV? Get yourself on a Sedona helicopter tour!

This is the perfect Sedona 3 day itinerary activity because it’ll give you the option to admire the red rock views uniquely. You can opt for a 30 minute Sedona helicopter tour or if you want to see more, go with a one hour Sedona helicopter tour.

Either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 

Alternatively, you can book a hot air balloon ride for sunrise and spend hours admiring the Sedona red rocks from up above.

Sedona Arizona Sunset

Now, if you want a REAL adventure, you can also opt to do a 12 hour tour to the Grand Canyon departing from Sedona! That’s always an option!

Evening

Depending on how your day goes, you can choose to end things off by watching the sunset at Airport Mesa! This is a popular Sedona sunset hike because it’s easy to get to, extremely short, and has 360 views!

Airport Mesa Vortex is famous for its views and “healing energy”.

Another option is to have dinner in Uptown at Canyon Breeze—they have an amazing outdoor patio that’s perfect for sunset viewing. Tomorrow is our last day—gah!

You can always choose to skip sunset and explore the Uptown Sedona area, which features more cute shops and is surrounded by mountains!

Day 3 – Hike Doe Mountain and Depart

Morning

Well, that’s it! We’ve reached the final part of our Sedona 3 day itinerary.

I think it’d be fun to take an easy hike to cap things off. 

Doe Mountain trail is a 1.7mi round trip hike with a 400ft elevation gain. So it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to reach the top—and that’s if you’re going pretty slow! 

I love Doe Mountain because it’s what I call a “bang for your buck” hike: you can 360 views of Sedona without the added effort!

Once you’re done with your hike, you can freshen up, relax at your hotel, and get ready to depart!

Sedona Itinerary Additions

Want to swap out some things in our itineraries? Here’s a list of activities you can add to your Sedona itinerary! 

Book a Tour

Sedona is full of attractions you can enjoy with the help of a guide. Here are some noteworthy tours to consider:

  • Pink Jeep Tours – You’ll see some great parts of Sedona that you wouldn’t be able to explore without the help of massive vehicles. I’m talking about scenic vistas and other hard-to-reach Sedona gems!
  • Mountain Bike Tour – Sedona is home to some of the best mountain biking trails you’ll find! This tour will take you on a scenic trail, so you can witness all that red rock magic from two wheels ;). 
  • Sedona Vortex Energy Tour – Many people come to Sedona to be immersed in the famous Sedona vortexes, which a guide can help you enjoy. You’ll hike to some of the bets vortexes and bask in their energy.
  • Sedona Horseback Riding Tour – You’ll spend one-hour touring scenic parts of AZ while feeling like Fabio on a white stallion. Sounds magical!

Sedona Spa Day

Want a real treat-yo-self-experience? Book a spa day!

The best part about having 3 days in Sedona is that you have plenty of time to relax in-between adventures. Scott and I visited the Amara Resort and LOVED our experience at their spa.

If there were a way to live at this place secretly, I would HAHA.

Visit a State Park

Did you know there are some amazing state parks in the Sedona area? let’s talk about them!

  • Red Rock State Park – Full of beautiful hikes and other attractions! You can check out an entire list of Red Rock State Park Sedona activities by visiting their website!
  • Slide Rock State Park – Known for its swimming, Slide Rock is a desert gem about 15 minutes outside of Sedona. Depending on the day of the week you go, expect to pay $20 to $30 per vehicle to enter the park. You can see all the fees and park information on the Slide Rock State Park website.

Oak Creek Canyon – West Fork Trail

Hiking Oak Creek Canyon is a must! West Fork Trail is about a 20min drive from Sedona.

There is no service on the way up there, so answer your calls beforehand and make sure you download a Google map of the area. Once you arrive at the West Fork Trail, you will need to pay a $10 vehicle fee. 

Red Rock passes don’t apply here!

See More of Arizona

Since you’re already in Northern Arizona, I think it makes sense to tack on one of these to your Sedona 3 day itinerary for an extended Southwest trip.

Visit Flagstaff

Flagstaff is a great destination to visit after you complete your trip! You can do some hiking here, mountain biking, shopping, eating, or book a stay at a cozy cottage.

After that, it’s entirely up to you. Scott and I have a coffee shop we LOVE in this area, so we always make the trek to go there once we’ve explored Sedona.

I have an entire blog on things to do in Flagstaff, AZ, you can check out too!

Grand Canyon National Park

Of course, I have to mention that the Grand Canyon National Park is up this way. A Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon trip is the best way to do it! 

An itinerary like that will have you seeing multiple Arizona gems for the ultimate bucket list type trip. In the Grand Canyon there are copious amounts of trails up there—it’s a hiker’s dream park!

While you’re up this way, you can book an Antelope Canyon tour too!

Camp in Havasupai

You need permits to camp in Havasupai, but if you have them, you can totally make a trip to Sedona before or after your trip! Havasupai is where you will find epic waterfalls that are in the most unreal turquoise color.

You’ll feel like you just walked onto another planet!

Explore Phoenix, AZ

In the Phoenix area, we have Downtown Phoenix and drives from Scottsdale that offer some fantastic things to do, restaurants, and hiking (believe it or not). So if you have extra time to explore the valley, I highly recommend it!

And that’s all she wrote! Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed this blog and my recommendations for a Sedona 3 day itinerary!

If you don’t want to do everything I recommended, I say at the least do one Sedona hike and one “big” activity like a tour of sorts.

Regardless of what you decide to do, you’ll enjoy your trip—it’s hard not to in a gorgeous place like this! If you need more help planning your vacay, or just want some inspo on what an epic Southwest vacay could look like, I suggest you read these next:

Happy exploring :)!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!