Phoenix and Sedona Honeymoon and Travel Guide

If you’ve followed along with any of my past honeymoon guide posts, you will know that I seek out scenic mountain hikes and beautiful landscapes when I travel. This time, I have put together a Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona, honeymoon guide for any of my readers who love the outdoors. Even if you’re just travelling on a normal trip, you will find my tips and ideas helpful.

I visited this unique landscape of red rocks and dry dessert botanical gardens for a week and it was pure magic. My main destination was Sedona and seeing the red rocks, but Phoenix was along the way and was a pleasant surprise so I have included it here too.

Sedona isn’t a destination that most people think about when they think honeymoon, but it really is underrated and is a great spot for anyone looking for an outdoorsy and off the beaten path type of vacation.

Getting Here

I flew into the Phoenix Sky Harbour Airport and rented a vehicle to get around. Sedona is 2 hours north of Phoenix and accessible by highway, while Phoenix is a big city to explore, so a car is a must.

Tip: I highly recommend upgrading to a 4×4 Jeep so you can do some of the fun off roading that is in Sedona. The 4×4 Jeep has high clearance to allow you to go over bumps and rocks, where as a normal car would just get scraped. There are a lot of off roading opportunities in Sedona.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide

Packing Tips

Depending on the time of year you go, it could be brisk or it could be scalding hot.

For Phoenix, I have heard from residents that it gets really really hot in the summer, so winter, spring and fall are the best times to travel. In fact, Phoenix has been named America’s hottest city! If you’re travelling to Phoenix and Sedona in the winter months like me, you will need a light puffer/winter jacket for the morning and evenings when it is brisk.

Sedona is two hours north and the elevation change is 3700 ft, so it will be considerably cooler in Sedona. Not to worry though, because the hiking will keep you warm! If you plan a day trip to the Grand Canyon (which is an additional two hours north of Sedona) it will be a much bigger drop in temperature.

The key to packing for these multi-climate locations is layers.

Don’t forget the hiking shoes and a refillable water bottle for the hiking.

Where To Stay

Phoenix is a world class city, so there are a wide range of great accommodations for all budgets. I opted for a great airbnb near the downtown area with a pool and hot tub.

Sedona is slightly bigger than a small town, so options aren’t as vast here. Pick a hotel that fits into your budget range. One with a hot tub and one with a view is a huge plus! Sedona is all about the views.

Arizona Honeymoon Guide – Phoenix

For me, Phoenix was a jumping off point because my main destination was Sedona for the red rocks. But Phoenix’s cool vibes, great restaurants and funky arts districts made for a great stay. It has a lot of culture, nice people and it’s clean.

Phoenix’s landscape is also really unique. Where else do you find landscapes with both cactuses and palm trees together in one place?! It’s a unique spot for wanderers and travel junkies alike. You can easily spend a few days here before heading north to Sedona.

Tip: Scottsdale seemed interesting online when I read about it, but it’s really not. It’s very touristy and caters to older folks. I made the mistake of staying near Scottsdale on the first leg of my trip. Try to find accommodation closer to the downtown area where more of the interesting restaurants and shops will be.

I’ve pulled together a few of the memorable spots in Phoenix, before you head to Sedona.

Phoenix Arizona Honeymoon and Travel Guide - Desert Botanical Gardens

Desert Botanical Gardens – A beautifully manicured park featuring more cactuses and succulents than you can count. They are also GIGANTIC cactuses. You can definitely spend a few hours here. There is a fee to get in, but if you love desert botanicals like me, it will be worth it.

Phoenix Arizona Honeymoon and Travel Guide - Roosevelt Row

Roosevelt Row – A walkable arts district home to eclectic art galleries, restaurants, bars and boutique shops, all dotted by colourful street art and murals.

Tip: Try to plan your travels so you are here on a Friday night. First Fridays is the largest art walk in the USA, with live music, food trucks and an open-air market feel.

Phoenix Arizona Honeymoon and Travel Guide - Historic Grand Avenue

Historic Grand Avenue – I loved the colourful restaurants, cafes and vintage shops that lined this street. Don’t forget to check out the converted motel that is full of cool vintage shops and cafes at the corner of W McKinley St and N 15th Ave and the picturesque plant store and cafe Pueblo.

Arizona Honeymoon Guide – Sedona

Let’s talk about Sedona, the whole reason for this trip! I LOVED SEDONA. Lots of healthy food options, small town feels and, of course, the amazing red rocks.

While in Sedona, you can easily spend 4-5 days enjoying the outdoors and beautiful sunsets. There aren’t too many “attractions” here. It is all about the mountains and being among them.

On the way to Sedona, there is only one highway that takes you there. As you drive north and the elevation climbs. The landscape is fairly flat and then all of a sudden you will start seeing the red rocks come closer and closer. It’s similar to the drive from Calgary to Banff, but instead of snow capped peaks you get lovely red rock formations. The drive in is really beautiful, you are in for a treat!

Sedona is known for having a number of energy vortexes, which are concentrated energy fields that promote healing and spiritual growth (or so they say). This is why it is a popular destination for retreats and yoga, and the area is lined with healthy food options.

PS If you eat gluten free or vegan, you will have no trouble finding good food options. Picazzo’s was a favourite for me, since I eat gluten free and everything there is gluten free! ChocolaTree Organic Eatery was also a unique spot for vegan fare, with a relaxed outdoor garden patio often with live music. The Whole Foods is a great spot to pick up healthy snacks and drinks too.

Here are some of my must-see spots!

Sedona Arizona honeymoon guide - Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross – Along the route to Sedona, you must stop off here. A stunning architectural piece set atop the red rocks. If you’re lucky you may encounter one of their healing services in their tiny chapel. Park along the street and walk up. The climb to the top is worth it!

Sedona Arizona honeymoon guide - Son-Silver-West Galleries

Son-Silver-West Galleries – Also along the route to Sedona is an expansive and quirky “gallery” full of unique signs and trinkets to purchase. There is also a famous energy vortex onsite.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village – A cute outdoor market with art galleries, craft shops and cobblestone paths. This is a great spot to stop for a bite to eat and to walk around.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon guide - Spirits & Spice Sedona

Spirits & Spice Sedona – Within the Tlaquepaque Arts Village is this unique spirits shop. Make sure to stop in and try something that piques your interest (you can sample everything)! They distill locally and have really unique liquors, like peanut butter flavoured liquor. There are also some prickly pear syrups and balsamic vinegars, made from their local cactuses. It is a great spot for local souvenirs. Make sure to check what you are allowed to carry back. To travel back to Canada with anything over 100ml we needed to check it in our bag.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - McDonalds

McDonalds – Yes, you read correctly! One fun fact about Sedona is they have the world’s only McDonald’s with non-yellow arches. They are blue! Sedona has strict policies in place that restrict buildings built to compete with the red rocks, and the city felt that the yellow would clash with the mountains, so they made it blue. Super random but fun!

Hiking in Sedona

Now, let’s get to the best part about a Sedona trip – the hiking and the mountains!! I hope you have your hiking shoes, water bottle and step tracker ready, because there are more hikes than you can imagine in Sedona and they are all scenic.

Tip: Download the AllTrails app to find trails near you, filtered by difficulty level, length and conditions. I was not in the mood for any overly challenging climbs, so I looked for scenic easy-moderate level hikes and these were a few of my favourites. You can check the app to find climbs that suit you. These are real mountains. There are no guard rails anywhere and there is no staff, so read the descriptions of the hikes thoroughly to determine which will be a good fit for your energy and fitness level. Most trailheads have washrooms and maps, but the AllTrails map is really great to help keep you on track, especially when you lose reception in some spots.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Fay Canyon Trail

Fay Canyon Trail – This was a scenic and easy hike. You will be greeted with views from all angles as you head into the canyon. At the end of the trail, you take a steep climb up to the rock where you have stunning views like this. The steep climb up looks worse than it is. I wish I packed a lunch to enjoy there!

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Devil's Bridge

Devil’s Bridge – This is a really popular hike. It is a scenic hike that ends in a steep climb up towards a “bridge” that everyone takes photos on. If you go too late in the day, the line ups to take photos on the actual bridge part are quite long. The climb up will have you on your hands and feet climbing up. I actually didn’t make it up to the actual Devil’s Bridge part because i saw the daunting lineup and the elevation was making my husband a bit woozy, but it was still a really lovely climb.

Tip: Remember how I told you to upgrade to a Jeep? If you have a 4×4 Jeep, you MUST drive in. Otherwise you will be walking a relatively boring and dusty first portion of the walk for almost an hour. Plus the off road trail is really fun to drive! There is a small parking lot that is just for the 4×4 vehicles too, so you don’t have to worry about the parking lot at the front being full (which is typically is). I found this blog really helpful to navigate this off roading experience.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Seven Sacred Pools Trail
Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Seven Sacred Pools Trail

Seven Sacred Pools Trail through Soldiers Pass – This was my favourite hike. It was incredibly scenic around every bend. It was not difficult either, just really really stunning. Funny enough, the sacred pools aren’t that exciting. But the journey there and back is really beautiful.

Can you imagine doing an engagement or honeymoon photoshoot here? It would make for such a magical backdrop.

Sedona Arizona Honeymoon Guide - Dark Sky Reserve

Star gazing – Sedona is a dark sky reserve community, a city with low light pollution allowing for great star gazing. We parked to take in the stars at the Two Trees Observation Area, but you can certainly find other spots to try. Just make sure you are far enough away from the town to be really dark.

Arizona Honeymoon guide - Grand Canyon

Bonus: Grand Canyon – If you have a day to venture out of Sedona, the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is two hours north of Sedona. We went for a day trip to see it. It’s SO vast! As mentioned, it can get really cold here because of the higher elevation. We went in February and there was plenty of snow on the ground still and a pleasant but brisk 0 degrees Celsius. Yes, the Grand Canyon gets snow in the winter! In fact it’s so cold that the north rim isn’t even accessible or open in the winter months. We couldn’t really do any hikes or walk down the Grand Canyon because of the snow. We took some photos, roamed around, ate, and left. It was worth the stop because we have never been, and I am glad I did not stay overnight to go there. There really is nothing nearby, it is just the Grand Canyon.

One Week in Phoenix and Sedona

For our one week in Phoenix and Sedona, we did two nights in Phoenix, four nights in Sedona (one of which we took a day trip to Grand Canyon), then one night in Phoenix before flying home. That was enough to get a taste of the red rocks in Sedona and the culture of Phoenix.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this honeymoon and travel guide to Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona! It was a great trip and it would make for a relaxing and scenic honeymoon. If you take a trip here, let me know how it goes in the comments! Happy planning and travels!

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.