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Sedona, Arizona with Kids: What to Do, Where to Eat, & Where to Stay

Sedona, Arizona is world famous for its’ red rock formations and natural beauty. The many family-friendly hikes and outdoor adventures perfect for all ages are reason enough to visit Sedona, Arizona with kids. A 2-hour drive from Phoenix or a 40-minute drive from Flagstaff will take you to this outdoor lovers’ paradise

Sedona is surrounded by towering red rock formations and lies beside Oak Creek. Both unique landscapes make for plenty of recreational activities, from bumpy off-road jeep tours to natural swimming holes to a wide range of family friendly hikes, that will keep the whole family entertained for days.

the unique red rock formations of Sedona, Arizona
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Rock Formations in Sedona, Arizona.

What To Do in Sedona, Arizona with Kids

Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer day and one of the best stops when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids. Located in Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock State Park was formally known as the Pendley Homestead, a 43-acre apple farm. Today, the park is most known for the natural waterslide that is enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

The main attraction of Slide Rock State Park is the swimming area, reachable via the Slide Rock Route, a 0.3-mile trail. The trail will take you down steps, across the creek on a footbridge, and over sandstone shelves. Once you reach the swimming area you will find the 80-ft. long natural waterslide that the park is famous for. Aside from the natural slide you will also find many smaller “pools” to wade and relax in.

The park also boasts access to hiking trails both within the park and access to nearby Coconino National Forest trails. For an easy trail within the park, check out the Pendley Homestead Trail. The 0.25-mile trail is rated as easy and is a paved trail that takes you through a section of the historic homestead. Not only will you be treated to stunning views of the Oak Creek Canyon along the trail, but you will also walk past the historic homestead house, tourist cabins, original and newer apple orchards, and an apple packing barn.

The Clifftop Nature Trail is another great option. The 0.25-mile trail will bring you to beautiful views of the swimming area. While enjoying the trails be on the lookout for some of Slide Creek State Park’s native wildlife, like the Coues Whitetail Deer, black bears, Javelina, and a wide range of birds.

Slide Rock State Park is open year-round, but hours will vary based on the time of year you are visiting. Be sure to check before visiting. There is a fee charged for entering the park that ranges from $10 to $30 per vehicle, depending on the time of year and day of the week you are visiting. The park does get quite busy and when we were visiting the line was backed up along the highway, so arriving earlier in the day is best.

slide rock state park, best things to do in Sedona, Arizona with kids
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Slide Rock State Park. Photo Credit: Don Graham from Redlands, CA, USA CC BY-SA 2.0

Take a Pink Jeep Tour

A pink jeep tour is one of the best ways to see the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona with kids. The ride itself makes the trip well worth it and brought many smiles and laughter, but the true highlight of the tour was the out of this world views of Sedona’s red rocks.

Pink Jeep Tours of Sedona offer a number of different tours to choose from. Some of them are better suited for younger children, like the Diamondback Gulch tour, while some will be better with older children, like the Hiking Tour. We choose the Scenic Rim 2.0 tour, a 2-hour tour that takes you on a very bumpy ride along the cliffs and rock formations of Sedona with opportunities to stop along the way and explore the landscape.

If you are a history lover, the Ancient Ruins tour may be a good fit, or you can combine an Ancient Ruins and Diamondback Gulch tour. The Ancient Ruins tours bring you to the Honanki Heritage Site where you can explore 700-year-old cliff dwellings and view the Petroglyphs left behind by the Sinagua people.

If you are staying in Sedona and looking to get out and explore some of the other stunning natural areas throughout the state of Arizona, you can join a Grand Canyon tour or Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend tour, full day tours that will take you to some of Arizona’s most scenic destinations.

The tours depart from the office building located among the shops and restaurants of uptown Sedona. You can find plenty of free public parking lots in Uptown Sedona within walking distance of the office, or paid parking along State Route 89A. Several tours are offered throughout the day and prices range from $60 to around $200, depending on the tour. There are private tour options as well, but you will pay a pretty penny!

Pink Jeep tour in front of the Sedona red rocks
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Pink Jeep Tour, Sedona Arizona.

Grasshopper Point Swimming Hole

The Grasshopper Point Swimming Hole is located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon. On a hot Arizona day, Grasshopper Point is a much-welcomed relief, shaded by cliffs and trees. The main feature of Grasshopper Point is the large, deep natural swimming hole. The bottom of the swimming area is known to have rocks and varying depth, so it is important to use caution when swimming, and water shoes are recommended.

If you are looking to do some hiking, you can find Allen’s Trail off of the Grasshopper Point parking lot. Allen’s Trail is a 1-mile-long round trip hike along the base of red rocks and parallel to the creek. The trail connects with Casner Canyon Trailhead, a strenuous 5.7-mile round trip hike. Other popular activities in the area include picnicking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Grasshopper Point is open daily from 9am to dusk. Fees to enter the area are $9 per vehicle for day use. If walking or biking in, the fee is $2 per person.

Go For a Hike

With Sedona being one of Arizona’s best outdoor destinations, it is only natural that going for a hike should be on your bucket list of things to do when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids. The options for hikes are plentiful, with difficulty ranging from easy, family friendly hikes to more challenging and adventurous hikes.

For some easy family hikes in Sedona, check out Fay Canyon or Devil’s Bridge. Fay Canyon is a 2 mile long, easy rated trail along a flat, sandy trail. The trail is shaded on both sides by trees and surrounded by the red rocks of Sedona. When you reach the end of the trail you will have the option to add on taking the short trail to Fay Canyon Arch.

Devil’s Bridge is one of Sedona’s most popular hikes. The trail is rated as easy with an elevation gain of 400-500 ft. with a length of 2-4 miles. The trail takes you to the picturesque Devil’s Bridge, a popular spot for stunning views and photo ops. The challenge lies in getting to the trailhead. The trailhead is located on a road only accessible by 4WD vehicles, so you will have to start at the Mescal Trailhead or walk from Dry Creek Road.

For some moderately rated hikes in Sedona, check out Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. The Bell Rock Climb is rated as moderate but is still doable for families. The hike is 1 mile long uphill, with 400ft. of elevation gain. The trail is marked for the first 0.25 miles, while the remaining will find you carving out your own route. You can climb partly up Bell Rock, and the views are well worth it!

Cathedral Rock is another moderately rated trail and is one of the most iconic hikes in Sedona. The trail is 1.2 miles with an elevation gain of 700 ft. and involves a little bit of climbing and rock scrambling.

Cathedral Rock hike, best things to do in Sedona, Arizona with kids
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Cathedral Rock. Photo by Sébastien Noël on Unsplash

Visit Red Rock State Park

Red Rock State Park is a 286-acre nature preserve with a range of natural landscapes, including the famous red rocks, green meadows, Juniper, and Manzanita. The park offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and experiencing the natural beauty of Sedona. The many hiking trails give you plenty of choices if visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids.

Red Rock State contains 5 miles of hiking trails through Oak Creek and along the red rocks. You can choose from the Eagle’s Nest Loop, Coyote Ridge Trail, and the Apache Fire Loop, or join all three trails together. The Eagle’s Nest Loop is one of the must do’s as it contains the highest point in the park with some of the best views. The Javelina Trail will take you into the woodlands.

Biking and horseback riding are both popular activities at Red Rock State Park. While the trails for these activities inside the park are limited, you will find access to Forest Service Trails. You can choose from the Lime Kiln Trail near the entrance or the Turkey Creek trail near the east gate of the park. The Lime Klin Trail is a 15-mile trail that connects Red Rock State Park to Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

When visiting Red Rock State Park, you will also want to stop at the visitor center. Here you will find interactive exhibits and a theater to learn about the history and geology of the park. You can also enjoy daily guided nature tours and bird tours.

The park is open year-round Monday through Thursday, and daily from Labor Day to May 23rd. Fees to enter the park are $7 for adults, $4 for children aged 7 to 13, and free for those 6 and under.

red rocks of Sedona
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Red Rock State Park. Photo by Daniel Powell on Unsplash

Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the best locations in Sedona for amazing views of the red rock formations. The Chapel was built in 1956 by Marguerite Brunswig Staude after her dream to build a similar structure in Budapest with Frank Lloyd Wright failed. The Chapel itself is tucked between two red rock formations. Even for the non-religious, the chapel is said to be located in a “vortex” bringing gratitude to those who visit.

The views from the Chapel are one of the top reasons people visit. You can stand inside or outside the chapel and take in stunning views of Sedona and the surrounding natural landscape. If you are looking to visit for a religious service, you can attend a Taizé Prayer on Mondays at 5pm or a Mass any day of the week (visit their site for times).

You can also enjoy a family friendly hiking trail off of the parking lot for the church. The Chapel Trail is a 1.3-mile-long total trail that goes along the red rocks of Sedona before meeting up with Little Horse Trail and taking you to the Chicken Point Overlook.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There is no fee to visit and you can find free parking (although limited) onsite. You will also find a gift shop on the ground floor open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm that features many items created by local artists.

the chapel of the holy cross, best things to do in Sedona, Arizona with kids
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. Chapel of the Holy Cross. Photo by Sergei Sushchik on Unsplash

Take in the Views from the Airport Overlook

The Airport Overlook is another one of the best ways to take in views of Sedona’s red rocks and one of the most easily accessible. The Airport Mesa is a shrub-covered mesa found just South of Sedona. When visiting the Mesa, you can choose to simply drive up to the Airport Overlook or combine it with a hike along the Airport Loop Trail.

The drive to the Airport Overlook is 6 minutes from Sedona and will take you to easily accessible and stunning views of Sedona and the surrounding red rocks. There is a small fee to enter and park of $3. Because of its easy accessibility, it is recommended to visit the Overlook both during daylight hours and then again at sunset for out of this world views.

A hike along the Airport Loop Trail is a great addition to an Overlook visit and will treat you to views of some of Sedona’s most iconic sites, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Thunder Mountain, and views of the town of Sedona itself. The Airport Loop Trail is 3.2 miles with an elevation gain of 416 ft. The trail itself is relatively easy, but has many rocky sections, so be cautious if visiting with young children.

Sedona mesa
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Ken Thomas, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Shop or Dine at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village

The Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village is a Mexican themed shopping area that is a must when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids. The shopping village has over 50 unique and local specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, jewelry stores, and even a toy store.

The village is well known for its art and galleries. Throughout the year you might venture into one of them and find an artist at work, if you’re lucky. Any time of year you can admire unique artwork, sculptures, paintings, pottery, and jewelry.

One of the top reasons to visit the village is the events that are offered throughout the year. You can find art shows, plays, poetry readings, animal encounters, live music, celebrations (like Cinco de Mayo), and a weekly farmers’ market from early Spring to Fall.

After you’ve done your exploring and are ready for a bite to eat check out El Rincon Mexican Restaurante for authentic Mexican food or Oak Creek Brewery and Grill for American dishes, followed by a stop at Cream Handmade Ice Cream. Free parking is available at the village.

section of the Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village, things to do in Sedona, Arizona with kids
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Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village.

Visit the Ruins of Palatki and Honanki

If you have even the slightest interest in history, the Palatki and Honanki Heritage Sites are a must when visiting Sedona. The sites were once the largest cliff dwellings in the Red Rock Country in the years 1150 A.D. to 1350 A.D.

When visiting the Palatki Heritage Site you will find three trails taking you to the ruins. One trail will take you to the dwellings, the second will bring you to great views of the dwellings, and the last will bring you to alcoves containing pictographs left behind by the Sinagua people. The area around the Palatki dwellings is limited to ten visitors at a time, so it is recommended to call ahead of time for reservations to get up close.

The Honanki Site features the remains of a dwelling that is believed to have contained 6 dozen rooms at one point. With a visit to the Honanki site you will find some of the stone walls still standing and many pictographs near the dwellings. People of three different cultures are believed to have lived at the site over a period of 700 years, including the Sinagua, Yavapai, and Apache people. The dwellings of Honanki can be viewed on a three-quarter mile trail that loops around the ruins.

The sites are open to visitors daily from 9:30am to 3:00pm. Visitors to the sites must have a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass. There is a small visitor center and gift shop near the parking area of the Palatki Heritage Site.

Honanki ruins of Sedona, Arizona
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The Honanki Ruins. Chanel Wheeler, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Take the Short Drive to Camp Verde

Camp Verde is a 40-minute drive outside of Sedona but makes for the perfect day trip when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids. Here you will find more opportunities to enjoy nature, explore history, and enjoy some family fun.

For a change in pace on your visit to Sedona visit the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. The highlight of a trip to the park is the safari tours, where you will enjoy a drive through safari with free roaming animals. You can also visit the standing exhibits on foot or via shuttle. The setup of the park, with open, spread-out exhibits on the desert sands makes it feel more like an African safari than a zoo.

If you are looking for some adventure, you can try out the zip line course at Out of Africa. You can choose from a day or night tour and zip line over the animals of the park for a unique experience.

Fort Verde State Historic Park is another fun, but educational, spot to take the kids. The park contains the remains of Fort Verde, a historic fort that played a role in the Central Arizona Indian Wars. With a visit to the fort you can enjoy seeing the remains, artifacts, see reenactors, and learn about the way of life during the time period.

The Montezuma Castle and Well, a site of preserved Native America cliff dwellings, is another great option in Camp Verde. You are not able to enter the dwellings at this site, but you can view them from a distance. The Montezuma Well is also interesting to see. It is about 11 miles south of the castle. It is a large sinkhole filled with water and plant and animal life unique to the area. The well can be reached on a 1/3-mile trail.

Montezuma castle cliff dwellings
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Montezuma Castle. Photo by James A. Molnar on Unsplash

Where to Eat in Sedona, Arizona with Kids

Outlaw Grille

Outlaw Grille offers both a laid-back setting and kid friendly menu options. Menu options include burgers (and veggie burgers), sandwiches, pork ribs, wings, salads, and veggie sandwiches. There is also a full kid’s menu with junior pulled pork, cheeseburgers, chicken stripes, and grilled cheese.

Blazin’ M Ranch

Blazin’ M Ranch offers both great family friendly dishes and a great Western theme experience. The ranch has a museum, shooting gallery, a Western Stage production, Western themed shops in the Western Theme Town, and a variety of activities, including bull riding, axe throwing, and a tractor pull. The menu consists of Western themed dishes, like chicken and ribs, baked potatoes, beans, biscuits, salad, and coleslaw.

Sedona Pizza Company

Sedona Pizza Company is a very friendly restaurant, both in atmosphere and menu options. The restaurant is located along the main strip in Uptown Sedona and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Menu options include calamari, stuffed mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, wings, salads, sandwiches, veggie burgers, wood fire pizza, a selection of pastas, and for dessert Tiramisu and cheesecake. For the adults, you can find a large selection of wines and draft beers.

Black Cow Cafe

The Black Cow Café will be a hit for any child, especially after a long day of exploring in the Arizona heat. The café offers ice cream, a wide selection of sundaes, pies, milkshakes, and smoothies. For the adults, you can find a large selection of hot and iced coffee.

the red rocks of Sedona
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Sedona Red Rocks.

Where to Stay in Sedona, Arizona with Kids

Amara Resort and Spa

Amara Resort and Spa, located along Oak Creek in uptown Sedona, is a great option for accommodations when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids. Resort room options include Creekside rooms and suites, red rock view rooms, patio rooms, and courtyard rooms. The resort features onsite dining options, a pool spa, and fitness center. The hotel offers both public and private adventure excursions, including hiking tours and jeep tours.   

Poco Diablo Resort

The Poco Diablo Resort is a family friendly resort in Sedona conveniently located to Sedona’s most popular attractions. Room options include king rooms, spa rooms, patio or balcony rooms, and standard rooms. The resort features a spa, onsite dining options, a heated pool, fitness center, tennis courts, 9-hole golf course, bike rentals, and concierge services to help you plan the perfect trip.

Junipine Resort

The Junipine Resort offers villa style accommodations along Oak Creek and is great for families looking for a quiet, more secluded getaway. The accommodations are creekhomes set in a forested area that contain woodburning fireplaces and outdoor decks. The resort is conveniently located and only 8 miles from uptown Sedona. The resort also has onsite dining and access to hiking trails.

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What to do, where to eat, and where to stay when visiting Sedona, Arizona with kids to make the most of the natural beauty and family fun!
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7 Comments »

  1. It always amazes me how breath taking the views in Arizona are. I need to go so bad! I’d definitely want to check out all the ancient ruins and petroglyphs – so fascinating. Thanks for all the great hiking tips!

  2. I’ve only spent a little time in Sedona, but this post makes me realize how much I missed. Would love to go see Montezuma Castle and of course, do a lot more hiking!

  3. I can totally agree that Sedona would be a great spot to visit with kids. We wanted to do a Pink Jeep tour when we visited but missed out. Maybe next time. We could not get enough of those red rock views on hikes. With a swimming stop I am sure the kids were fully entertained.

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