The 12 Best Day Trips from Sedona

With all of its natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and spectacular resorts, Sedona is the perfect destination for an Arizona staycation, but it also makes a great base for exploring the rest of the state. Here’s our list of the best day trips you can take from Sedona, including what you can do once you’re there and travel tips for making the most of your time. 

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Verde Valley Wine Trail

Woman pouring glass of wine

Peter Amend / Getty Images

 

You don’t have to leave Sedona to sample northern Arizona’s wine country, but the Verde Valley Wine Trail is one of the easiest day trips you can take. The closest wineries—Javelina Leap, Page Springs Cellars, DA Ranch, and Oak Creek Vineyards—are just 20 minutes away in Cornville, with other wineries, like Alcantara Vineyard, sprinkled throughout the Verde Valley. There are also tasting rooms in Cottonwood, Jerome, and Clarkdale.

Travel Tip: Book a wine tour and let someone else do the driving.  

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Cottonwood

Old Town Cottonwood

Visit Cottonwood

This small city just a 30-minute drive from Sedona has a charming Old Town with boutique shops, art galleries, and seven tasting rooms, including Pillsbury Wine Co. and Merkin Vineyards Osteria. Linger over lunch at Pizzeria Bocce, one of the best pizzas in the state, or grab a burger from Bing’s Burger Station, housed in a renovated gas station. For a more active day, you can rent bicycles from vendors along Main Street and pedal the streets.

Getting There: By car, head south towards Red Rock State Park on SR 89A to Mingus Road. Turn right, continue for two miles to Main Street, and turn right again. Or, you can take the bus. The Verde Lynx bus leaves Sedona every 90 minutes.

Travel Tip: The area is also popular for hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

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Clarkdale

Verde Canyon Railroad

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One of the best day trips from Sedona, the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale takes passengers on a 4-hour, 20-mile scenic ride through the Verde Canyon. Trains and journey through the rugged landscape, reversing course after two hours. On the open-air viewing cars, attendants share the canyon’s history and geology and point out the resident bald eagles.

Getting There: By car, take SR 89A towards Cottonwood. Turn right on Mingus Road, continue to Main Street, and turn right again. Main Street becomes Broadway Street past Cottonwood. Stay right to remain on Broadway Street as you enter Clarkdale. The train station is on the left.

Travel Tip: Purchase tickets well in advance since the train frequently sells out.

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Jerome

Jerome

 JimVallee / Getty Images

Perched on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, “America’s Most Vertical City” draws visitors with its history, art, and winery tasting rooms. Start your visit at Jerome State Historic Park for an introduction to Jerome’s mining past. Then, head downtown, where more than 15 art galleries and several tasting rooms line the streets.

Getting There: By car, take SR 89A towards Cottonwood. Follow signs for SR 89A through Cottonwood and Clarkdale. Jerome is a mile up the hill on SR 89A.

Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes. Steep inclines and stairs sometimes separate one street from another. 

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Prescott

Prescott

 desertsolitaire / Getty Images

Just 60 miles from Sedona, Prescott was once the state’s territorial capital. To learn more about the state’s early days, tour the restored territorial governor’s mansion and other historic buildings at the Sharlot Hall Museum. Then, walk a block to Whiskey Row, once frequented by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and local Rough Riders. You could spend the entire day exploring the shops, restaurants, and bars here, but don’t miss the Museum of Indigenous People or the Western art at the Phippen Museum.

Getting There: Take SR 89A through Cottonwood, Clarkdale, and Jerome. On the other side of Mingus Mountain, take exit 317 for SR 89A towards Chino Valley. Eight miles further, merge onto East Gurley Street and continue to downtown Prescott.

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Camp Verde

Montezuma Castle

 DavidByronKeener / Getty Images

Forty minutes from Sedona, the town of Camp Verde has nearly 10,000 years of human history, including the impressive ruins at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Built into a sheer limestone cliff, the five-story, 20-room structure is reminiscent of what you’d see at Mesa Verde National Park. In Camp Verde, Fort Verde State Historic Park tells the story of the U.S. Army fort, the Buffalo Soldiers who served there, and the area’s earliest settlers.

Getting There: By car, head south on SR 179 to I-17. Take the interstate south towards Phoenix to exit 287. Turn left on SR 260 and left again at Finnie Flat Road. Continue into Camp Verde.

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Flagstaff

Downtown Flagstaff

Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

 

This mountain city on I-40 is just a 45-minute drive through scenic Oak Creek Canyon and one of Sedona's most popular day trips. Browse boutiques and art galleries downtown, sip a craft beer on the Flagstaff Brewery Trail or discover what makes the Colorado Plateau so special at the Museum of Northern Arizona. You can also visit Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered, or drive historic Route 66 through Flagstaff.

Getting There: Take SR 89A north towards Flagstaff. Follow signs to merge onto I-17, heading north. In Flagstaff, the interstate becomes Milton Road, which ends at Route 66. As soon as you turn right, you’ll be downtown.  

Travel Tip: The Visitor Center in the train depot right on Route 66 is one of the easiest places to park. 

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Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments

Sunset Crater

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Just outside Flagstaff, you can visit two national monuments: Sunset Crater and Wupatki. Since the two national monuments are adjacent, you can take the Sunset Crater Wupatki Loop through both. At Sunset Crater, explore the otherworldly landscapes where the astronauts trained for the lunar landing as you walk along the jagged edge of the Bonito Lava Flow or to the base of Sunset Crater Volcano. Then, continue to Wupatki to see ancient Puebloan ruins.

Getting There: Drive north on SR 89A to I-17 and Flagstaff. Before entering Flagstaff, merge on I-40 east toward Albuquerque and continue to exit 201. Turn left. A half-mile later, turn right on US 89. Drive 8 miles to Sunset Crater National Monument’s entrance.

Travel Tip: You’ll find more ruins at nearby Walnut Canyon National Monument.

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Williams

Route 66 Williams

 Experience Williams

The stretch of Route 66 that loops through Williams is one of the best places in the state to experience this historic motorway. Park at the Grand Canyon Railroad parking lot, then walk across the tracks to the downtown area where Route 66 memorabilia fill local shops and themed diners play 50s-era tunes.

With tickets and an early start, you can take the 9:30 a.m. train from Williams to the Grand Canyon and be back by 5:45 p.m., but it makes for a long day, considering the drive from Sedona takes over an hour.  

Getting There: Go north on SR 89A to I-17. Continue north on I-17 to I-40, and head west toward Los Angeles. Take exit 165 and turn left to drive Route 66 into Williams.  

Travel Tip: Make time for Bearizona, also in Williams, if you’re an animal lover.

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Grand Canyon

Sunset at Desert View Point

 Dean Fikar / Getty Images

The only Natural Wonder of the World located in the continental United States, the Grand Canyon is just a two-hour drive from Sedona. Plan your trip to the national park’s South Rim—it takes well over four hours to get to the North Rim—and park at the visitor center. From there, you can walk along the rim, rent a bicycle, or take a shuttle to the overlooks. Enjoy lunch in the historic El Tovar Hotel’s dining room, and shop for authentic Native American arts and crafts across the street at Verkamp’s.

Getting There: Follow the directions to Williams, but instead of turning left at exit 165, turn right for the Grand Canyon. Continue on SR 64 for 28 miles to where it merges with US 180. Drive another 22 miles to the park.

Travel Tip: Many activities, including the mule rides, require advance reservations. 

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Oatman

Burro Standing in Oatman

 Sky_Sajjaphot / Getty Images

Although it’s a full-day trip, the 3 1/2-hour drive each way from Sedona to Oatman is worth it to see the wild burros that roam this former mining town. Set free by the miners when the mines closed, the burros live in the Black Mountains and invade Oatman during the day.  You can pose with your new furry friends and feed them treats purchased from the Route 66 gift shops.

Getting there: Follow the directions to William but continue on I-40 heading west to Kingman. At exit 44, turn right onto Route 66, then take the next left onto Oatman Road. Continue for 33 miles to Oatman. 

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Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater

 StephanHoerold / Getty Images

The world’s best-preserved meteor impact site, Meteor Crater stretches an impressive 3/4-mile wide in the desert just south of I-40, near Winslow. Admission includes indoor and outdoor viewing, self-guided and guided rim tours, a 4D theater experience, and a 15-minute site about the crater. The free Discovery Center & Space Museum explores meteorite impacts worldwide through hands-on exhibits and one of the Apollo 11 space capsules used for training.

Getting There: Take SR 89A north to I-17, and at I-40, head east toward Albuquerque. Drive 38 miles to exit 233, turn right onto Meteor Crater Road, and go another five miles to the crater.

Travel Tip: An onsite café serves sandwiches, pizzas, soups, and salads.

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