Sedona Heritage Museum
735 Jordan Rd., Sedona
When you visit such a tranquil place, one with so much spirituality and history that it seems to have many stories to tell, questions come up. Like what does Sedona mean in Spanish? (Hint: It’s a trick question.) Or who were the first settlers? And: Didn’t I see that place in the movie with that guy? (Probably.) Answers to the all questions you have and those you didn’t know you have are here at the Sedona Heritage Museum, which focuses on the history of the city from 1876 to the present. This charming trip to the past is brief—you can cover the whole museum in an hour.
Red Rock State Park
4050 Red Rock Loop Rd., Sedona
Red Rock State Park is 286 acres of forest, creeks, trails, views, and predictably, red rocks. The natural beauty of the park alone is worth a trip to Sedona. A few hours exploring the preserve will very likely be the highlight of your time here. But stay on the trails, Indiana Jones. Tempting as it is to venture out on your own, the park is home coyotes, mule deer, river otters, rattlesnakes, lizards, javelina (ugly/cute boarlike animals), tarantulas, scorpions, and enough species of birds that there are bird-watching tours.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
780 Chapel Rd., Sedona
Not many churches are inspired by the Empire State Building. Then again, not many churches look like the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The most ardent atheist can appreciate this formidable work of architecture, which juts out from two red rock spurs hundreds of feet high, anchored by a giant cross. It looks like a spaceship materializing out of the earth. It’s mesmerizing even before you go inside. (Technically, this is the Coconino National Forest, but this area is better for rock climbing than mushroom foraging.) Designed by architect Richard Hein, the chapel has been here since 1956 and gets more popular every year.
Pink Jeep Tours
204 AZ-89A, Sedona
Off-roading is infinitely more fun when someone else is driving, especially when that someone is a professional tour guide familiar with every crevasse and canyon in the area. Pink Jeep (all the cars are the signature shade) has over a dozen tours of varying views, cost, time, and white-knuckling. The Broken Arrow tour is amazingly beautiful and a great choice if you don’t hike Broken Arrow, but the eleven-hour day trip through Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend—and the rocks, spires, and views that come with it—is not one you will soon forget.
460 Harmony Dr., Sedona
Whether you’re an amateur Galileo or you just like looking up at the stars after dinner, Sedona’s night sky will astound you. It is so expansive and vast as to feel as if the entire universe is collected over this small pocket of the American Southwest. And hands down the best way to take it all in is with an expert. Sedona Stargazing astronomers will meet you about twenty minutes from uptown Sedona (to get away from the light pollution) with high-powered telescopes and a textbook’s worth of knowledge. You can expect to see shooting stars, binary stars, distant galaxies, the International Space Station, Venus, Saturn, and almost everything else in this universe.
Airport Mesa Loop Trail
483 Airport Rd., Sedona
Get up before dawn—trust us, this will be worth it. At that hour, two things are working in your favor: You’ll be able to get a parking space at the entrance to the Airport Mesa Loop Trail, and you will see the most spectacular sunrise of your life. The loop is about three and a half miles long and can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete, depending on much you hike and how much you stroll and how often you stop to take family pictures. It’s gentle enough to bring the kids along. (If it’s rained recently, be careful of slippery rocks, and if you go in the summer, bring extra water—it gets blindingly hot in the desert.) The 360-degree views are just about the most beautiful way to take in such magical surroundings. Other trails very worth exploring: Boynton Canyon, Doe Mountain, Fay Canyon, Little Horse, and West Fork.