The Sweet Spring Song of Sedona
At 4,000 feet Sedona is blessed with a temperate climate that is sandwiched between the snowy winter cold of Flagstaff and the intense summer heat of Phoenix. The peak visiting times are spring for it's warm days and leafed out greenery, and fall for the change of colors. But, it's a safe bet that you'll enjoy Sedona at any time of the year.
Unlike many western tourist-driven communities Sedona has an invaluable asset to the RV traveler -- an RV park that's less than a ten minute walk to the center of town. For motorhomers without tow cars a short walk puts you right in the action. If you have a tow car, or are pulling a trailer, once you unclip, there are many side excursions in and around the Verde Valley to Oak Creek, Cottonwood, Jerome and Flagstaff.
The Rancho Sedona RV Park is the only one in (or near) town. It's well maintained and nestled in a beautiful grove of sycamores and cottonwoods. Under the leafy canopy, satellite service can't happen, but the park does offer cable hookups, and wifi. We didn't test the park wifi as our AT&T rocked with a strong 4G LTE signal.
Compared to other much lower quality RV parks, Rancho Sedona's prices are very reasonable considering it's premium location. All of these upsides equal one downside: the park is generally full and even though we were fortunate enough to snag a mid-week, two day reservation at the last minute (we happily settled for a water and electric only hookup), I was told by a long time local to plan ahead. . .way ahead.
No kidding, it's less than a ten minute walk down a slight hill to the main roundabout where state highways 179 and 89A converge. A right takes you up the hill to shopping, restaurants and hotels, and a left takes you to shopping, restaurants and motels.
There's a smattering of national chain brands, but mostly the town is filled with local shops that range from t-shirts and trinkets to very high quality and high-priced art galleries.
We spent the afternoon wandering through the better galleries and found them on par with ones in Santa Fe, La Jolla, and Aspen. On a weekday in mid-April the town wasn't packed, but it was busy enough, and we appreciated the overall friendliness of the merchants and servers we encountered, and the relaxed vibe all around.
There are a lot of shops in town that sell new-age crystals and related mind-body products and services. It's easy to see why, as the natural beauty of the area creates a sense of wonder and well-being.
Throughout the day we'd see open air tour jeeps rolling through town, filled with passengers on their way to explore the hills and canyons. There's also plenty of terrain for hikers and mountain bikers to enjoy.
Though our camp location did offer an appealing picnic table under the oaks, we opted for a couple nights out for dinner. Our first evening was at The Hideaway which surprised us with much better than expected Italian cuisine and a great evening view from the outside deck. The next evening we did a little more research and asking around and the consensus opinion was the Javelina Cafe just south of the town center and also within a short walk. The cuisine is Mexican trending toward Tex-Mex and we found the quality of the Javelina's food to be much better than the run-of-the-mill Mexican food.
If you're of a mind to park and walk, Sedona certainly will offer one to three days of activities. If you have a car for further exploring, add a couple of days to your itinerary. But, whether you stay a couple of days or a lot longer, Sedona should be in your travel plans.
BIG RIG TRAVEL TIP: If you're driving a big rig over 40' in length (and especially if you're towing a car or toy trailer), I'd recommend coming up from the south via I-17 and AZ 179. If you come south from Flagstaff on AZ 89A you'll see signs warning that vehicles over 50' are not allowed. There are some very tight hairpins, some steep grades, and narrow stretches of pavement without any shoulders. I was happy to be in our Navion pulling our Fit, which was cake. But, being ever mindful of our big rig friends, I could see plenty of potential for a white knuckled drive with something wider and longer.