Visiting Sedona, Arizona for the First Time

Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona
Fun Things to do your First Time Visiting Sedona, Arizona

Inn of Sedona viewWe have asked our family, friends,staff and guests what were their favorite things to do in Sedona, Arizona to help give our new visitors an insider’s guide to fun things to do on their first visit to the red rocks. We had a lot of suggestions, and picked the ones that were suggested the most.

Below you will find the top suggestions that we believe will get you off to a good start for your first visit to Sedona and the Verde Valley. Once you get here you will find your own favorites that encompass your interests and we would love to hear about it. So please, after or during your visit let us know what some of your favorite things to do in Sedona were by either filling out a comment at the end of this article or by posting on our Inn of Sedona Facebook page.

Fun Things to do in Sedona, Arizona and the Verde Valley

Hiking the West Fork Trail
When it comes to hiking in the Sedona, Arizona area one of the all time favorite hikes would have to be the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon, the most popular trail on the Coconino National Forest. Fall is the most popular time of year to take this hike when the beautiful red rocks and clear blue skies serves as the perfect backdrop for the vibrant fall foliage in Oak Creek Canyon, but there is no bad time of year to enjoy this hike. Well I take that back, we would not want to hike it during a heavy rainstorm. To access the West Fork Oak Creek Trail drive north 9.5 miles from Sedona to about halfway between milepost 385 and 384. The trailhead is on the west (left) side of the highway down a paved lane that leads behind a few creek side houses. Visit our West Fork Trail photo album.

Sedona Fly Fishing Adventures
Sedona-Flyfishing-adventures-header-1aYes, there is water in the dessert, and more importantly there is fly fishing! Oak Creek offers some of the most pristine pools and secluded stretches of water in Northern Arizona. This creek along with its breathtaking red rock views, make for an unforgettable fishing adventure any time of year. The fishing season is open year round, and Oak Creek is stocked regularly. Sedona Fly Fishing Adventures offers offers a fishing excursion of a lifetime from the red rocks of Sedona to Arizona’s White Mountains, and on to historic Lee’s Ferry. Fishing licenses is required and can be purchased on line at If you will be staying at our hotel and are interested in visiting the wildlife park make sure to check out our “Sedona Castaway” vacation package.

Visiting the Sedona Airport Mesa
You definitely want to make the trip up to the Sedona Airport Mesa for some of the best overall panoramic views in Sedona, and the sunset there is exceptional because of the way the lights and colors bounce off the red rocks. Make sure to bring your camera, you can get some amazing shots of Coffeepot rock from the look out! If you happen to go around meal time, the Mesa Grill comes highly recommended.

Visiting Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
When it comes to exploring the world of art in Sedona, the Talquepaque Arts & Crafts Village is the place to be. Originally conceived as an artist community, Tlaquepaque is a perfect setting to witness gifted artisans absorbed in their work.It’s not uncommon to venture upon a well-known sculptor working on his or her latest piece right in one of the Tlaquepaque galleries. The galleries and unique shops live in harmony with its lush natural environment. The vine covered stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways and magnificent arched entryways create an ambiance that is as impressive as the artists that grace the galleries, restaurants & shops. Tlaquepaque is also well know for their events and celebrations. See photo’s of the Tlaquepaque Cinco De Mayo Celebrations!

Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Tigers  Rescued 1 - 2Out of Africa Wildlife Park locate 30 minutes from Sedona in Camp Verde, Arizona is the ultimate wildlife experience! The park offers fun, exciting and educational attractions for the whole family to enjoy such as Wildlife Preserve,Tiger Splash, African Bush Safari, Giant Snake Show, Wonders of the Wildlife Show and Predator Feed. These adventures give you the opportunity to get up close to wild life in a natural habitat. With all the great attractions offered we highly suggest allowing at least four hours to experience all the Park’s adventures. Where else would you be able to kiss a giraffe, feed a Tiger, or watch people and tigers play together in a giant swimming pool?  If you will be staying at our hotel and are interested in visiting the wildlife park make sure to check out our “Out of Africa Adventure” vacation package.

Hiking Bell Rock Pathway
This trail takes you on a scenic journey of the red rocks with panoramic views that can’t be beat. This hiking trail is marked as easy to moderate and there are other paths and trails that lead off of the Pathway for you and your family to explore.The Pathway is about 7 miles round trip and it is important to remember it is not a loop. Keep that in mind while you are enjoying your hike and remember you have to hike back the distance you go in. You do not have to hike the entire pathway to enjoy some great views of the red rocks. As soon as you walk the first 10-15 minutes in, you will be close enough to feel the energy of Bell Rock. Desert flora surround you on the hike and you never know what surprises await you as the desert blooms. Directions: From the junction of Routes 89A and 179 in Sedona, take 179 south 3.6 miles to a paved turnout and trailhead parking on the left (east) at milepost 309.8, .2 miles south of the entrance to the United Methodist Church for the northern trailhead. Visit our Bell Rock Pathway photo Album.

Pink Jeep “Broken Arrow” Tour
Pink Jeep’s famous “Broken Arrow Tour” is by far the most popular four-wheel drive tour in the Southwest. Excitement abounds on this fun-filled four-wheeling Two Hour adventure that leads you on and over the red rocks while the magnificent canyon walls surround you. You’ll be awestruck by the natural splendor and thrilled as your guide expertly navigates you down “The Road of No Return”. Don’t forget your camera on this One-of-a-Kind Pink Jeep Tour. If you are going to be staying at the Inn of Sedona and would like to experience this Jeep tour make sure to check out our “Sleep ‘n’ Jeep” vacation package.

Visiting National Monuments and Historical Sites
The Verde River Valley and Sedona area is rich with history from Native American history, especially the history of the Sinagua culture, to the Pioneers of Sedona. You will find many places to explore and ignite the imagination of yourself and your children. You will find everything from an amazing five-story cliff dwelling, well preserved petroglyph sites, to a self-guided trail exploring a variety of volcanic formations. Make sure to check out these historical sites Montezuma Castle, Palatki Heritage Site, Honanki Heritage Site, Wupatki National Monument and the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Tuzigoot National Monument.

Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park
Sedona, Arizona is a mecca for spiritual journeys, revitalizations, connections, and a place to awaken and welcome the spirit within. There is definitely something here that elevates your senses and nurtures your soul. The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is one of the most visited spiritual sites in Sedona and was built as a gift to the community and the world. On any given day in Sedona, dozens of visitors of all faiths trek up the short winding trails to the 36 foot Amitabha Stupa and the smaller Tara Stupa for prayer, meditation, healing, and the experience of peace in a beautiful and sacred setting. The Amitabha Stupa is open every day from dawn until dusk and your visit is free of charge. (Of course, donations to support the stupa are gratefully accepted.)The Stupa is located at 2650 Pueblo Drive, off of Andante, in the heart of West Sedona.

Visiting Jerome and Cottonwood
Many of our guests who come to Sedona and have access to a vehicle highly recommend experiencing the history and fun of the Verde Valley. Jerome and Old Town Cottonwood rated high on the list from guests.

Jerome, located 5,200 feet up on Cleopatra Hill, was once the 4th largest city in the Arizona Territory. Between the late 1880s and early 1950s Jerome was a thriving mining camp producing an amazing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Now that’s a lot of copper! You can still feel the history in Jerome today,the Jerome Historical Society has done a wonderful job in guarding and preserving many of the historical buildings. You will now find the town filled with galleries, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. They have a very popular “Art Walk” that takes place every 1st Saturday of the month throughout the year.

Shops, galleries and restaurants line Main Street and provide the backdrop for this quaint and colorful historic district. The unique Cottonwood Jail stands guard at the top of Main Street. Cottonwood is surrounded by jagged mountains on the south and west, and to the north and east by mesas and buttes. Named for the beautiful Cottonwood trees that grow along the Verde River, the town grew from a small farming community to the Verde Valley ‘s population center, called “the biggest little town in Arizona” by the late 1920s. At that time Old Town businesses supported residents and workers of the many mines that operated in nearby communities.

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