Looking for a quick getaway to the desert? Living in the PNW, Berty and I always crave a short getaway to soak up some sunshine in the cold winter months of Washington. It’s tough when all you see is gray skies for months on end!
To combat those gray skies, we plan an annual trip to the Southwest to get that much-needed vitamin D.
Sedona is one of our favorite destinations to visit during this time for the perfect blend of outdoor adventure, relaxation, and fun activities!
In this post, we’re sharing our 3-day Sedona itinerary (and more alternatives below!) so you can plan your own restorative escape to the desert ASAP!
The Perfect 3 Day Sedona Itinerary (+ Even More Routes)
How To Get To Sedona
Sedona, Arizona is best reached from Phoenix. As visitors, we flew into the Phoenix International Airport (PHX) and rented a car. We found the airport to be really friendly, and easy to navigate.
If you’re renting a car, hop on the Phoenix Sky Train to reach the rental car center. It’s about a 10-minute ride on the train. After picking up our rental car, it’s a 2-hour drive north on Highway 17 to Sedona.
Don’t forget to stop at In-N-Out on the way there!
Weather In Sedona (What To Expect)
Weather in Sedona varies season to season, but you can almost always expect it to be sunny and dry. Because of its high elevation, Sedona much more moderate than its neighbor, Phoenix.
Sedona spring is the most popular time to visit (March – May). This is when daytime temperatures are a comfortable 70, and the wildflowers are all in bloom.
Sedona summers (May – August) are hot and dry. Temperatures hover around 90 degrees daily. This is also the season where you can expect sudden bursts of heavy rain, or even lightning storms.
Sedona fall (September – November) sees the changing of leaves, and cooler temperatures. If you love crisp mornings and the vibrant desert fall colors, come during this time.
Sedona winters are quiet, uncrowded, and cold! It’s rare to see snow stick around for more than a day, but it’s pretty magical when you get to see the red rocks dusted in snow! If you’re prepared, this is a great time to do longer trails. You don’t risk the chance of overheating!
Prepare More: 35 Essentials Sedona Packing List Items (Season by Season)
Where to Stay For 3 Days In Sedona
The Southwest Inn is perfect for the budget-friendly traveler. Located on the edge of in West Sedona, it’s close to food, trailheads, and amenities. The rooms are simple and cozy, with a kiva fireplace to lull you to sleep at night.
There is a free breakfast but we found it to be a bit lacking – more than not we chose to eat out instead! However, the price point was perfect for us and we were overall satisfied with our experience.
The Wilde Resort and Spa
The Wilde Resort and Spa is also located in West Sedona. It’s a step up from the budget Sedona hotels, but won’t break the bank with luxury prices.
Here, you’ll find perfectly manicured desert gardens, spa-like serenity, wellness sessions, and spa treatments. It’s a great spot to stay if you want to dip your toes into the world of desert restoration.
The Junipe Resort is tucked into the forest just north of Uptown Sedona. Each of the rooms is unique but comes with full kitchens, daily complimentary firewood, and wifi throughout.
It’s about 8 miles from amenities in Sedona, but if you’re looking for some serious tranquility and peace, this is the place to be.
This place is very convenient for hiking Oak Creek Canyon and the West Fork Trail!
Camping In Sedona
What about searching for free camping near Sedona?
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Sedona 3 Day Itinerary
This 3 Day Sedona itinerary is the perfect way to plan a quick weekend trip to the desert! It’s packed with lots of iconic hikes, delicious bites, and other magical things to do.
Sedona Itinerary Day 1: Get Oriented
After arriving in Sedona and checking into your hotel, it’s time to get familiar with Sedona!
We suggest choosing a short sunset hike to orient yourself in town. The trail from Airport Mesa to Sedona Airport Scenic Overlook will orient yourself to the surrounding red rock formations of Sedona.
In the evening, grab dinner in town. We especially loved Cafe José – their service was REALLY fast and the food was really good!
Get inspired: 15 Jaw-Dropping Hikes in Sedona, Arizona
Sedona Itinerary Day 2: Go Exploring
After breakfast, head over to Fay Canyon Trail for a morning hike. This easy 2-mile trail is doable for the whole family. It’s the perfect balance of wandering the shady canyon and sweeping red rock views.
You can continue to stay in the Red Rocks State Park for more hikes (Sugarloaf Loop Trail and Calico Tank Trail are the most popular) or you can return to town to explore more of the city.
If you’re into crystals, meditation, and spiritual healing, Sedona is the perfect place to be! Pop into Crystal Magic to check out their HUGE selection of healing and energizing crystals.
Berty and I also went next door to get our auras photographed. It was a really fun experience to speak to a psychic reader to understand what each of our aura colors meant. I’m not sure if it was real or not, but it sparked a lot of good conversation between Berty and I for the rest of the day!
In the evening, pop over to Sugarloaf Hill for an easy, evening walk. A Red Rock Pass is required ($5 for a day pass) and the parking lot is pretty small.
We recommend coming early, like an hour before sunset, to snag a spot in the lot. There is no parking allowed in the immediate neighborhood streets.
For dinner, try out any of the incredible spots along the Verde Valley Wine trail. Located in Cottonwood and Cornville, this is a real treat to experience locally grown Arizona wines!
Read More: 15 Incredible Southwest Destinations To Add To Your Bucket List
Sedona Itinerary Day 3: Visit a Vortex
Did you know that Sedona is famous for its vortexes? A Vortex is said to be a location on the map that is more energetically charged, making it the perfect place for meditation and manifestation!
Try visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross or Cathedral Rock for sunrise. It’s an iconic Sedona destination designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright!
For Cathedral Rock, it’s important to utilize the shuttle system to get to the trailhead. The original parking lot is SMALL, and they are now directing traffic away to a larger, offsite parking lot. Here are the shuttle times and parking lot coordinates to plan your trip accordingly. This way you don’t get turned away!
On your way out of town, stop by Black Potion Coffee to grab some coffee and breakfast.
If traveling north, take Highway 89A (near Slide Rock State Park) for a scenic drive out of the area. If returning to Phoenix, drive on Highway 17 and keep your eye out for the several cactus that lined the highway!
Want to join a tour for the day? This is a great way to see Sedona without the worry about parking, permits, or transportation. You’ve probably seen ads for the Pink Jeep Tour, but we recommend the Small Group Vortex Tour by AZ Safari Jeep Tours. They are one of the most highly rated tours in Sedona!
Sedona Itinerary Alternatives (2 days, 4 days, and 5 days)
Sedona 2 Day Itinerary (Best for locals)
A 2 day Sedona itinerary is great for locals (Phoenix or Flagstaff) who don’t have a ton of time to spare. This 24-hour trip is the perfect excuse to squeeze in a few hikes, and return home without missing a beat.
- Day 1: Drive up from Phoenix, hike Airport Mesa Trail to Airport Scenic Overlook for sunset.
- Day 2: Sunrise hike to Devil’s Bridge (Coconino National Forest), Fay Canyon, OR Cathedral Rock. Grab breakfast in town, depart.
Sedona 4 Day Itinerary
A 4 day Sedona itinerary is the perfect choice for people who have a long weekend. This route gives you two full days to enjoy underrated trails, great food, and time to enjoy uptown too.
- Day 1: Drive up from Phoenix, AZ. Check into your hotel, take a sunset hike (like Sugarloaf or Cathedral Rock).
- Day 2: Hike in the morning, to Soldiers Pass or Boynton Canyon.
- Day 3: Visit the Sedona Heritage Museum, grab lunch in town, and get your auras photographed at Crystal Magic, drive along the scenic Highway 89A
- Day 4: Take a sunrise hike to Fay Canyon, visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, depart.
Sedona 5 Day Itinerary
A 5 Day Sedona itinerary is perfect for out-of-towners (like us!) who want to maximize their time in the sunshine. This route gives 3 full days among the red rocks and is perfect for outdoorsy hikers.
- Day 1: Arrive in Sedona, check into your hotel, take a sunset hike to Airport Mesa and Airport Scenic Overlook.
- Day 2: Hike Fay Canyon in the morning, hike to the Birthing Cave for lunch. Grab dinner at the ChocolaTree. Watch the sunset at Sugarloaf Hill.
- Day 3: Morning visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Visit the Sedona Heritage Museum, drive the scenic Highway 89A for sunset.
- Day 4: Hike Soldiers Pass (to the Seven Sacred Pools) in the morning, get an aura reading and Crystal Magic, walk around uptown during the evening.
- Day 5: Sunrise hike to Cathedral Rock, depart.
What are some of your own recommendations for a 3 days in Sedona? Tell us in the comments!
More Desert Adventures
The Ultimate 10-Day Southwest Road Trip Itinerary
The Ultimate Utah National Parks Road Trip
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10 Amazing Hikes in Arches National Park in Utah