36 Hours in Sedona, Arizona: Red Rocks, Safari, Spa, Hiking

Sedona, Arizona is a magical escape filled with soaring red rocks, luxury resorts, boutique wineries and countless outdoor adventures you can go on. USA Weekend recently named Sedona as the Most Beautiful Places in America. For this Weekend Getaway, we decided to leave Seattle behind for a few days and head over to the sunny state of Arizona.

If you’re like us and miss the summer heat, Phoenix is the perfect destination to experience the 80 degree weather again. The flight time from Seatac Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is approximately 3 hours. We like to pre-load a few movies on a tablet, power up the Bose headphones and time will fly in a jiffy.

One of our favorite times to travel is at night. The people are much quieter on the plane, you can sleep better and traffic is usually obsolete during this time. With a 7PM departure from Seattle, we arrived at the Phoenix Airport around 10PM. At this hour, we decided to spend a night at the Phoenix Airport Hotel at the Hilton located within 10 minutes from the airport.

The next morning, we made our drive to Sedona. A beautiful two hour drive through a geological wonderful filled with rolling hills, red rocks and cacti. The drive actually feels much shorter as the speed limit is 75 miles per hour for the most part.

Did you know: Sedona is surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, visitors have instant access to recreational activities. Trails for hiking and biking, along with bouncy jeep tracks, weave among the bristling forest of pinnacles, spires, buttes and domes. Yet, you’re never far from the indulgences of town.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Experience an incredible wildlife adventure without having to go to Africa. Out of Africa Wildlife Park is an opportunity to see hundreds of wild-by-nature animals from all over the world, especially Africa. Not a zoo, not a drive-through park, it’s a place where visitors enjoy an authentic replica of a real African Bush Safari. Besides the entertaining shows and animal presentations throughout the day, all of our animals are cared for with passion and respect, roaming in spacious habitats that give you the chance to see these beautiful creatures and their natural behavior up-close.
Tip: Go during your Birthday Month and your admission will be FREE. Also, go early in the morning as it’s less busy and you’ll have more time to explore the whole park.
3505 W. SR-260 // Camp Verde, AZ  86322 // website

Golden Goose Cafe & Bistro

A great spots for casual fine dining at an affordable price. Locals and visitors love the Sedona restaurant for fine food and creative cocktails in an intimate and casual setting that suits any occasion. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served seven days a week, with seamless service and classic to imaginative dishes that truly set us apart from other restaurants.

2545 W. SR 89A | SEDONA, ARIZONA 86336 // website

Enchantment Resort & Spa

The perfect getaway whether it’s for a family vacation, couple’s getaway, or a romantic honeymoon, the southwest resort and hotel offers an abundance of amenities with stunning views. This Sedona luxury resort combines the unique natural beauty of Arizona’s red rocks with superb hotel accommodations, delicious dining, spa services and beautiful hiking trails all throughout Sedona.

Inclusions: Enchantment Resort offers things to do in Sedona for every imaginable interest, with a variety of choices that take advantage of the spectacular attractions and natural settings. With more than 70 acres in Sedona’s scenic Boynton Canyon, guests of this family resort enjoy Sedona hiking, tennis, swimming, an outdoor whirlpool spa, mountain biking, a pitch ‘n putt golf course, championship croquet, bocce ball and ping pong.
525 Boynton Canyon Road, Sedona, AZ 86336 // website

Complimentary orange juice and a copy of USA Today to get your morning started.

Complimentary bike rentals are available for mountain biking or on the road.

Guests have full access to a large croquet court

The Tii Gavo Restaurant sits below the stunning picturesque red rocks. Focusing on bold, vibrant flavors of foods indigenous to the region, this casual Southwestern restaurant features freshly prepared soups and salads, burgers and flatbreads, tacos and entrees — enhanced by views of Boynton Canyon from the terraces and lounge. Tii Gavo offers one of the largest selections of Arizona made wines, as well as regionally crafted beers on tap, specialty cocktails and margaritas including the signature Prickly Pear margarita.

The Enchantment Resort offers a handful of excellent signature restaurants including: Che-Ah-Chi, with its sophisticated Wine Bar, as well as the casual Southwestern flair of Tii Gavo with its own lounge. View 180 offers a tapas-style menu with wine and cocktails, while the seasonal Pool Bar features full-service food and drink at poolside. Mii amo Café serves a continuously changing menu of intelligent cuisine, and in-room service is available around the clock for guests who enjoy Sedona dining on their outdoor terraces or in the privacy of their own rooms.

Happy hour: Head over to the restaurants between 3-6PM and take advantage of discounted food & drinks.

Prime Rib Street Tacos (salsa de juan, pico de gallo, shaved cabbage, cilantro) – Voted by Relish Magazine as one of America’s 20 Best Tacos. We wish we had more.
The Smoked Chicken Enchiladas (salsa verde, crema, pickled onions, queso oaxaca, black beans) had the perfect flavors you could ask for in an enchilada.

Che Ah Chi
Named for what the Apaches called Boynton Canyon, the resort’s signature restaurant sets the stage for a memorable dining experience…where the food lives up to the views. Contemporary American cuisine with a hint of Southwest influence is paired with a wine list that earned Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.” Relax on the Wine Bar terrace or enjoy the spectacular centerpiece of Enchantment at Che-Ah-Chi.

525 Boynton Canyon Road, Sedona, AZ 86336 // website

The wine menu is beautifully displayed on this iPad with bottles being easily searchable by grape varietals.
The Beef Tartare (hemp oil, quail egg yolk, garlic aioli, kettle chips) was absolutely incredible. The beef was tender, well seasoned, and complimented perfectly with the crunchy texture of the chips and the sweetness of the aioli.
The Harris Ranch beef tenderloin (local lobster mushrooms, butter mashed potatoes, garlic puree) was cooked to perfection. The tenderloin was well seasoned and cut through like butter. The butter mashed potatoes paired nicely with the saltiness of the wine glazed lobster mushrooms.
The Grilled Cobia (organic spinach, charred lemon, agave lacquer, clam emulsion) was perfectly cooked, moist and explosive on the palate.

The #2 World’s Best Destination Spa by Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards for 2014 – miiamo.com. Experience a unique, full-service luxury spa experience where guests can find balance and harmony. The daily resort fee includes complimentary access to Mii amo Spa for all registered Enchantment Resort guests age 16 and older. This entitles guests to the use of all Mii amo facilities including locker rooms, steam, sauna and whirlpool, fitness room, indoor pool with fireplace, outdoor lap pool and spa, as well as participation in all fitness classes, art lessons, cooking demonstrations, programs by visiting experts, and other activities at this luxurious Arizona spa retreat. Featuring 16 luxurious spa casita guest rooms & suites, Mii amo Spa offers everything from delicious meals at the celebrated Mii amo Café to spectacular spa treatment rooms, a tranquil library, fitness center and movement studio, plus indoor and outdoor pools with dramatic canyon views.

Health and Wellness: Make sure to stop by the juice bar for fresh squeezed fruits and vegetables.

525 Boynton Canyon Road, Sedona, AZ 86336 // website

Cathedral Rock Trail

Cathedral Rock Tail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Sedona. The trail lies at the edge of a group of isolated red buttes on the south side of Sedona, about five miles from the main line of sandstone cliffs to the north, and together with Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock on the far side of AZ 179, is one of the most photographed formations in the area, due in part to the easy access from the highway. The Cathedral Rock Trail is only 0.7 miles in length, climbing quite steeply up an open slickrock slope “scramble” beneath the butte to a viewpoint at the base of the sheer cliffs at the center – on a saddle which links the peak to an adjacent flat-topped summit to the south. The path gains 600 feet in elevation so is a little more strenuous than its short distance might suggest, and fewer than half the people who start make it to the end, though the views just little way along are still very good, looking northwards towards Sedona and the colorful mountains beyond. One shorter target is a promontory known as Courthouse Butte Vista, reached after 0.3 miles.

Directions: about a mile (1.6 km) west of Arizona Route 179, and about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of the “Y” intersection of Routes 179 and 89A in uptown Sedona.

Chapel of the Holy Cross 

The chapel was inspired and commissioned by local rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who had been inspired in 1932 by the newly constructed Empire State Building to build such a church. After an attempt to do so in Europe, with the help of the noted architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was aborted due to the outbreak of World War II, she decided to build the church in her native region.

780 Chapel Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336 // website

Dahl & Di Luca

Owners Dahl & Di Luca have created a masterpiece in Sedona. Cucina Rustica’s cuisine is “Rustic Italian” using a traditional sautee method and grilled meats and seafood. Chef Lisa Dahl insists on absolute best ingredients for the mainstays of the menu and the nightly specials.

Cucina Rustica is fine dining with amazing comfort food such as Lisa’s signature vegetarian or meat lasagna’s or more traditional dishes like Veal Piccata sauteed in a sublime lemon caper sauce and an Eggplant Parmigiana that has turned non-eggplant lovers into this being their favorite dish.

Signature house specials include a Merchiaro with sea scallops, prawns and calamari sauteed with organic campari tomatoes, capers and fresh basil, served in a delicately spiced boullabaisse style sauce over orzo riso pasta.

Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante // 2321 Arizona 89A // website

Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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