The American Southwest is rarely mentioned as an ideal vacation destination during the summer months, and Arizona has an especially poor reputation with its high temperatures. However, there is a lovely place in the state that stays lively and much cooler than the rest – Sedona. Mountains surround Sedona, Arizona, protecting it from much of the heat that makes other areas of the state much warmer. With national parks, festivals, and events throughout the summer months, Sedona is an excellent choice for a getaway spot. Here are seven things to see in Sedona during the summer months.
- Sedona offers miles and miles of beautiful trails for hiking and biking that are suitable for explorers of all skill levels. There are flat trails that wind their way around the foot of hills, offering spectacular views of the landscape and rock formations that make up the Sedona desert – perfect for those with younger families. There are also more difficult treks that climb up from the bottoms of canyons or reach the tops of the rocks, where hikers can enjoy the sprawling vistas beneath their feet; giving the teenager and thrill seekers in the family all the excitement desired! These aren’t just for human feet! Many of these trails are pet friendly, so bring your energetic dog along for the walk.
- The Sedona Hummingbird Festival is truly a sight to behold. Held this year from July 31 to August 2 when the population of hummingbirds is the highest and most diverse, these three days are always filled to the brim with free exhibits and special garden tours or breakfast with these colorful little birds. But hurry, tickets for special engagements go quickly: http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/purchase-tickets-2015/
- The artistic soul of Sedona thrives vibrantly in galleries, shops, and squares peppered throughout the town. Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village offers frequent events, shows, and celebrations throughout the year, and summer is no exception. Also, the first Friday of each month, from 5:00pm until 8:00pm, the Sedona Gallery Association puts together a showcase to highlight artists, special exhibits, and events for locals and visitors alike – a great way to experience three of Sedona’s biggest art locations – Tlaquepaque, Hillside Sedona, and Uptown Sedona. So come and see talent and creativity can flourish in the beautiful desert. First Fridays are free and they include opening receptions. Ride the trolley for free between venues!
- Don’t leave the kids out! There are many state and national parks located close to Arizona, but the one with the biggest draw during the summer months is Slide Rock State Park. It was named one of the top ten state parks in the country just last year! The smooth, slippery natural waterslide that ends in a swimming hole is a fun and cooling way to spend a day with the family. Red Rock State Park also has activities for the kiddos with Ranger programs, guided nature walks, and special guest speakers or presentations. One area not to be missed is The Crescent Moon Ranch Picnic Area at Red Rock Crossing. There’s fishing, swimming, and lots of fun just wading in the creek; as well as a great picnic area and beautiful scenery to photograph.
- If history and culture are more interesting than hiking and festivals, there are plenty of places where hours can be spent learning about the history of the Southwest. Sedona has a Heritage Museum with exhibits featuring art from across the region and educational exhibits about everyday life in the town from the nineteenth century until present day. Sedona is also the location of two Indian ruin sites – the Palatki and Honanki Heritage sites. Take time to see Montezuma Castle and Well, a National Monument about 30 minutes from Sedona. The walks involved in any of these cultural experiences are minimal, making them an excellent way to spend a day without working too hard!
- Sedona is also known as a peaceful and rejuvenating place, a spectacular and powerful place – attracting mediums, meditation experts, and many others. Some visitors come for a life-changing experience, rejuvenation of the spirit, or an energy specific vortex visit. Sedona offers numerous spiritual retreats, healing experiences, and psychic readings to choose from. If a life-changing or more spiritual experience is of interest, there are many retreats hosted throughout the year or energy vortex visits and tours visitors to choose between.
- Of course, what kind of visit to Arizona, the “Grand Canyon State,” would be complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon itself? Sedona is located less than two hours away from one of the seven natural wonders of the world – there are many day tours offered that begin in Sedona, or visitors can drive themselves the short way up to the national park to enjoy the truly stunning views of the Grand Canyon and some of the walks around the rim. (Leashed pets are allowed on trails above the rim).
Of course, these are not the only ways to spend your summer days in Sedona. There are wine tours, jeep excursions, horseback riding, golf, shopping, and plenty of other things to fill up the day when you come and visit. One question remaining is where to stay while you experience all of them? El Portal Sedona Hotel is truly the place to stay – pet friendly, and located just steps away from Tlaquepaque Square and the heart of the town. El Portal offers a unique lodging experience. It isn't a typical bed and breakfast, nor is it your big resort. It is a twelve-suite boutique hotel offering unpretentious luxury. Each suite is distinctively decorated, includes a private entrance, patio, fireplace, whirlpool bath and Wi-Fi; featherweight cashmere blankets, luxury Egyptian cotton sheets, bath towels, premium down pillows and comforters for the ultimate in restful comfort. El Portal offers pet friendly Sedona accommodations with fenced pet patios, and no pet fees, making it an ideal place to put your feet up at the end of a long day of exploring.
Grand Canyon National Park - less than 2 hours from Sedona, AZ
El Portal Sedona Hotel
El Portal's The Molesworth Suite for designer Thomas Molesworth
West Fork Hiking Trail