With its transfixing rugged natural beauty and undeniable magical quality, Sedona, Arizona has long been a premiere vacation destination. It’s not only a place of inspiration and adventure, its 19 scenic miles of landscape that’s seductively saturated with a mysterious spiritual energy. Sedona is an alluring small town, located two hours away from Phoenix, and is an interesting blend of nature, artwork, boutique shopping, restaurants and luxury spas. You can easily explore the area on your own, but to fully understand its charm, take a tour. Here are two that I recommend.
1. Pink Jeep Tours
When people hear you’re going to Sedona, they’ll probably tell you to take the Pink Jeep Tour and you should. It’s a cool unique way to soak up the breathtaking views of the red rocks, learn about the native plants and beautiful scenery. Plus you’ll be off-roading ON the rocks–it’s incredible. Broken Arrow, which is named after the movie because it was filmed in the area, is their signature tour, but what’s great about Pink Jeep Tours is that they offer several different options that cater to pretty much anything you want to see in Sedona. After taking the Broken Arrow tour myself I can tell you it’s something you must do while in town. You’ll love it. Here’s a few things to know.
This tour is fantastic, however you should be adventurous and be able to handle a few jarring bumps. Even though you are required to wear a seatbelt the entire time you’re in the jeep, you will still be jerked around a little, but that’s part of the excitement. If you have any special requests or concerns, talk to the company because they are accommodating and very customer service orientated.
Wear sunscreen and sneakers. I took the 9am tour and thought I’d be fine with just makeup on my face, but my nose and cheeks got a little sunburned.
You will be on the tour with other people, which was great for me. I made new friends and had a really good time, but you can rent out the jeeps for a private tour if you prefer.
You will get out twice to see Submarine Rock and Chicken Point for photo opps. Your guide will take as many pics as you’d like and will also tell you about the area as you ride along the picturesque trails.
And speaking of the guides–they’re very friendly, insightful and informative in addition to being great drivers. They’re able to take the jeeps up huge hills and go down steep rocky roads in the most cautious, but fun way. I felt safe the entire time and had a blast. They will give you a thrilling ride so at the end make sure to tip them 15-20 percent. They earn it!
The Broken Arrow tour is two hours and the only bad thing about it is that you’ll wish it were longer. The time goes by too fast.
Make sure to book in advance because the tours sell out quickly.
You can also take a Pink Jeep tour in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
2. Verde Canyon Railroad
Another great way to enjoy the stunning terrain is the Verde Canyon Railroad tour, which takes you on a four-hour journey through Yavaipi County. I can’t think of a better time to spend a peaceful afternoon on a wonderfully restored vintage train relaxing in comfort and style while slowly taking in the most spectacular sites than in Arizona. Unlike other tours, this one allows you to sit back, have a cocktail and relish in the beauty of the countryside. The ride starts in Clarkdale–about 40 minutes outside of Sedona and is narrated for the duration of the trip. In addition there’s an attendant assigned to each car that is fully knowledgeable about the area’s historical facts and they point out places of interest like Native American ruins and unusual rock formations. The guides help enhance your experience and I was lucky enough to be with Suzanne–a gregarious highly spirited delight who describes herself as, “half a bubble off center that makes for fun.”
My car was like a low-key causal party scene, which made it that much more entertaining. Everyone was mingling with others they didn’t know and Suzanne masterfully balanced serving the guests, chatting with anyone who wanted to talk and maintaining the lively energy.
It’s a great tour that families, solo travelers and elderly passengers can enjoy and it shouldn’t be missed.
Here’s some helpful tips and information.
Get your tickets online and pick them up at will call. It’s quicker than buying them at the train depot.
Make your time extra memorable and upgrade to first class. It’s well worth the extra bucks to indulge. You’ll be in a car with fewer people, the seats are really comfortable, you’ll be able to sit with your party—on coach it’s first come first serve so there’s no guarantee. You’ll be treated to complimentary finger foods like chicken wings, cheese, fruit, crackers and brownie bites, as well as a glass of champagne or cider to kick off the ride. There’s an open bar you can purchase beer, wine, mixed drinks and non-alcoholic beverages like smoothies and lemonade from. Bottled water is free. In addition, you will have a separate open air viewing car that you’re welcome to hang out in anytime, so take full advantage of it. It’s amazing.
There is a snack counter inside the gift shop and ticket counter area where you can grab a burger or sandwich. The line is surprisingly long, so if you plan on eating there arrive extra early.
There’s plenty of free parking across the street from the train depot.
You won’t get cell service in the canyons so put your phone on airplane mode to save the battery.
Make sure to tip your bartender and attendant accordingly and book tickets early. This tour sells out.