There are a few places my spirit has called me to visit during my travels, but none have had the same effect on me as Sedona. When I learned more about this soulful city in Arizona a few years ago, a fire was ignited within me. I had to make my way there. And soon.
The first reason for this was obvious. It looked absolutely mesmerizing and I knew it would be even more incredible to witness in person. This delightful desert town is nestled among remarkable red sandstone formations and vast forests. The unique scenery has frequently topped lists of the most beautiful places to visit in the U.S. So it is a perfect stop and a fun road trip when visiting other popular Southwestern destinations (only four hours from Vegas and two hours from the Grand Canyon by car).
But the main reason I wanted to go was much deeper than just scenic beauty. Sedona was and still is considered an extremely sacred place for Native Americans. That’s because Sedona is home to four vortexes, which are powerful energy centers that radiate healing and renewal. The element of mysticism has attracted New Age and spiritual crowds to visit and even relocate here over the last few decades. Since I consider myself a spiritually conscious person and this is basically spiritual mecca within the U.S., I was on a mission to visit and experience this for myself.
What ensured totally blew my mind and captured my soul. I will never forget for as long as I live the wave of incredibly positive energy I felt just driving into the town, or how my breath was literally taken away with every view. The intense shade of blue above the seemingly chiseled red rocks and green pines is easy on the eyes and calming to the soul. I was able to quickly confirm that it is indeed a very spiritual and inspiring place, and it instantly became one of my favorite destinations.
Turns out, Sedona is home to all of my favorite things:
- A plethora of incredible hikes, ranging from easy, intermediate and hard levels; but all with absolutely stunning views of the surrounding red rocks – or you can even climb the rocks themselves.
- Many places to go practice yoga and meditation, which is heightened in such a spiritually charged environment.
- An endless amount of crystal shops lining each street, which I found to be much cheaper than others I have been to.
- Fabulous Native American jewelry and souvenirs in the many stores lining each strip or shopping center.
- A vibrant art community, with more galleries than I ever expected.
- Tons of delicious and gourmet restaurants to choose from, including plenty of organic food options. We did not have one bad meal there.
- General acceptance for new age concepts and philosophy. Everywhere you go, you will see Buddhas, alternative and holistic medicine practices, and happy hippies who perpetuate peaceful living. Concepts like karma and chakras are openly discussed and embraced. In many places, these things are considered “out there” but here, it is the norm. I felt like I fit right in.
Whether you’re one of the spiritually awakened bohemians of the world, interested in the path to zen and enlightenment, or just want to see some beautiful sights, this is without a doubt one of the most special destinations in the States. If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Sedona, I definitely encourage you to go, as I had an incredibly uplifting experience and can say with certainty that I will return.
Here are a few of my observations and suggestions for those considering a visit to Sedona:
- There are many companies offering guided tours and excursions, but this is a small city that is VERY easy to figure out and get around in. So I would recommend doing a bit of research, getting a map, and exploring on your own. That is half the fun anyway. Plus, the friendly locals are always happy to help and the drives are fun.
- The temperature is generally known to be very mild compared to other desert destinations, but be sure to check forecasts for the time of year you’re heading there and pack accordingly. It can be quite hot in the daytime but much cooler at night.
- Make sure to never miss a sunset here. They are simply magical. The most popular spot is Airport Mesa, which is centrally located and can be quickly accessed by car.
- These days, Sedona may feel a little overwhelmingly commercial and touristy for some. In the last few decades, it’s really become inundated with development and can be quite crowded at times. I have heard many comments that the many hotels and shops are not only a distraction from the natural beauty Sedona is famous for, but they take away from the peace and tranquility you’d expect here. As a city girl myself, I actually enjoyed this aspect and still found it much more tasteful than other tourist destinations, such as the Grand Canyon. I enjoyed the upscale feel and the convenience of having many options closeby. It’s one of those things everyone needs to experience and decide for themselves.
- Beware of gimmicks. While you’d like to think spiritualists are genuine, there are many scammers and fake psychics who flock here to rip people off. I do not think it is common but I have heard that this is something to look out for.
- Give yourself enough time to enjoy all this city has to offer. I made the mistake of only visiting for only a couple days and was devastated when I had to leave. I would say that you need at least four full days to truly enjoy and go on several hikes. You absolutely can’t miss photo opportunities at Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Oak Creek Canyon. You may want to see all four vortexes, take advantage of the fabulous shopping, visit a spa, or enjoy down time at your hotel pool.
- Also take time to really relax and take it all in. This is hands down one of the best places on earth to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. A slow, leisurely pace is definitely recommended. It would be a shame to travel all the way there, yet miss the entire point of being there – to meditate, reflect, and connect with nature.
- There are tons of places here where you can take a meditation class or learn about different beliefs such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this and keep an open mind. You could be enlightened to something that will change your life forever.