I’m a huge fan of road trips and have taken many over the years. I’ve always been a partial to coastal ones like California, Australia, New Zealand and Sardinia but recently I’ve begun to explore different terrain like mountains and deserts.
My latest adventure with my wife Ambra took us through Arizona with some of the most beautiful desert landscape in the world. From the epic cacti to the stunning red rock there is a plenty to see.
I highly recommend spending a week there and doing the same trek we did. I’ve mapped it out below along with suggestions for anyone who’s interested.
I also included the best places to stay, sights to see, along with some tips to stay healthy on the road.
The map includes the stops we took along the way, which are an absolute must. If you wish to extend the trip for some further exploration and hiking, spend a night in Camp Verde as there are some excellent trails there (or simply allow one more day in Sedona for a day trip down south). Alternatively leave early from Phoenix and plan for a full day if you want to get from Phoenix to Sedona with a pit stop in Camp Verde.
Day 1: Fly to Phoenix.
If time see the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. Stay refreshed at Grabbagreen in downtown or binge for pizza at Mellow Mushroom or Picazzo’s.
Day 2: Phoenix to Sedona.
Leave early and stop at Tonto Natural Bridge (1 hour), the largest natural travertine bridge in the world and Montezuma’s Castle (30 minutes), incredibly well preserved Puebolan cliff dwellings along the way. The ancient tribe literally lived inside a cliff. If you wish to do Camp Verde and hiking, plan an additional 4-6 hours.
Day 3-6: Enjoy the wonders of Sedona.
Highlights include Slide Rock National Park where you can literally slide down ancient rocks and swim in little pools, Energy Vortexes said to be made up of the energy from the universe and to bring positivity and healing to those whom visit, Cathedral Rock, a beautiful rock shaped like a cathedral with awesome hiking trails, horseback riding, drifting through downtown and even a day trip through Flagstaff where you’ll get a refreshing mountain town with walkability (the Boulder, Colorado of Arizona).
Don’t miss the Chocolate Tree Restaurant for an incredible, serene patio, hip vibe and excellent healthy food.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Pinõn Point. It’s the perfect location with walking distance to downtown and incredible views of the red rocks. I love that it comes equipped with a fully serviced kitchen (and blender) so you can eat clean.
Day 7: Sedona to Prescott.
Leave early and stop at Tuzigoot National Park (30 minutes), built nearly 1,000 years ago by the ancient Puebloan people.
Next stop at Jerome where you can have a drink at the haunted castle and walk through downtown (1-2 hours) and finally visit Watson Lake for a 30-minute stroll. You could make Waston Lake a day trip if you want to rent kayaks or do some swimming.
Day 8: Drive to Arizona and fly home!
One last travel hack. If you want to stay healthy on the road simply stop at Whole Foods along the way and pack food to go. There are locations in Phoenix, Sedona and Prescott.
Here’s a quick travel video with photos and highlights from our trip. Enjoy!
If you’re thinking of going to Arizona or have further suggestions for the area, leave me a comment below!