Day Trip: Sedona

Cathedral Rock, Arizona. Photo by Kaileen Fitzpatrick on Unsplash.

Sedona, Arizona is a small town located in the northern part of the state. It is known for its red rocks, for being a popular tourist destination, and for being something of a Mecca for those practicing various forms of new age spirituality.

Sedona makes for a one-of-a-kind day trip. It’s convenient enough to Phoenix for a quick one- or two-day getaway, and it’s gorgeous and disorienting enough to make you feel refreshed and reinvented on the drive home.

Behold the red rocks of Sedona

The eye-catching red rocks of Sedona are a significant selling point for the town. They are a type of sandstone that is red in color due to its high iron content. The rock formations that have been eroded over time by the wind and rain, giving them a tough quality to go with their overwhelming beauty.

Why Sedona is a popular Arizona tourist destination

Sedona is a popular tourist destination for those who want to gawk at the red rocks, yes, but there’s more going on here than meets the eye. It’s also known for its subculture of new age spirituality. The town is home to many new age shops and businesses, as well as a number of large-scale new age spiritual centers. If all that can-do positivity starts to bug you, you can gain mastery of your emotions using the Sedona Method.

Sedona and new age spirituality

Along with Asheville, North Carolina (or Marin Country, California, back in the day), Sedona is widely considered to be a major hub for the American new age movement, a loose collection of spiritual communities who come here for conferences, retreats, and chanting sessions—and sometimes stick around for a bit.

New age spirituality is a controversial catch-all term encompassing practices derived from the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau, New Thought, Western Hermeticism, certain forms of meditation and yoga, and other syncretic traditions based on the belief that we are all connected to a higher power and that we can tap into this power to improve our lives. When people describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” this often indicates new age sympathies.

Sedona is the site a number of celebrated “vortexes,” considered by some new age practitioners to be spots where currents of electromagnetic earth energy intersect in interesting and potentially powerful ways:

  • Airport Mesa
  • Bell Rock
  • Boynton Canyon
  • Cathedral Rock

Sedona for normies

Even if you don’t plan to achieve enlightenment next weekend, there are many fun things to do in Sedona. It’s home to a number of trails, parks, and other outdoor attractions, some more magnetic than others, all offering vigorous outdoor fun for the whole family. It also includes gorgeous national parks, nationally noted landmarks and musea, and places to shop for quirky artifacts and keepsakes while enjoying the weirdness and warmth of Sedona’s unique community spirit.

Some of the most famous such spots include:

  • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Coconino National Forest
  • Jerome State Historic Park
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Oak Creek Canyon
  • Sedona Heritage Museum
  • Slide Rock State Park
  • Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
  • Uptown Sedona
  • Verde Valley Archaeological Center

How to get from Phoenix to Sedona

The easiest way to get from Phoenix to Sedona is by car. The drive takes about two hours and is stunningly scenic. There are also a number of shuttle and tour companies that offer service from Phoenix to Sedona.

If you need a quick break from the relative freneticism of Phoenix, Sedona is a great place to visit. It boasts abundant natural beauty, is arguably the world’s capital for new age spirituality, and is abundant with things to do, ways to relax, and opportunities to refresh your perspective.

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