Well Traveled In Sedona, Arizona: A Metaphysical, Awe-Inspiring Experience
A relaxing getaway looks a bit different for everyone, but if you're craving a true respite, researchers recommend seeking out awe experiences. You know, those jaw-dropping moments that make you feel small—say, reaching the top of a mountain, taking in an expansive vista, or gazing up into the glittery night sky. Studies show these awe-filled moments can help balance your mood, spark creativity, and even make you feel like you have more time in the day. Isn't that the true definition of tranquillity?
So when I recently had the opportunity to experience the absolute wonder that is Sedona, Arizona, I was expecting to return positively restored. All it took was one look at the majestic, 3-million-year-old Red Rock canyons for the goose bumps to rise—talk about an awe-inspiring view.
Add some metaphysical programming, grounding spa treatments, and a spiritual vortex hike into the mix, and suffice it to say I have a new perspective on mind-body healing. Below, find a full itinerary to bookmark for your next trip.
Every transformative trip needs a cozy home base.
L'Auberge de Sedona
Tucked into Sedona's Red Rock canyons, this idyllic escape is restorative in every sense of the word. It features 62 luxury cottages (equipped with outdoor, open-roof, rain-head cedar showers and wood-burning or gas fireplaces), 21 traditional lodge-style guest rooms, and a five-bedroom, 2,800 square foot Creekhouse—ideal for wedding parties, group retreats, or reunions. The property is nestled on the banks of Oak Creek amid a lush forest environment, which makes the fresh, outdoor air feel a few degrees cooler (a major plus, considering Arizona is known for its scorching summers).
Take a walk through the sprawling 11 acres, and you'll notice the gentle rush of the creek, catch glimpses of the beautiful, unique sculptures from local artists, and you might even pick up sounds of crystal bowls from one of the resort's private holistic experiences. After spending a few days in this nature-lovers' paradise—the last of which I woke up to the entire property blanketed in a fluffy layer of snow—one thought crossed my mind: There's something magical about this place.
- Price point: $$$$
- Area: Sedona Red Rock country
- Amenities: Fitness center; wood-burning and gas fireplaces; outdoor, rain-head showers; unique, organic spa; metaphysical programming, like meditation, sound healing, chakra and energy healing, etc.; immersive art program; award-winning restaurant.
- Book now: https://www.lauberge.com/
Sedona is unique in that it offers equal parts adventure and relaxation—you can schedule your days as slow or jam-packed as you please.
Explore the most scenic spots in Red Rock country by hiking through the canyons. Opt for a guided tour, like the customized hiking tours offered by Trail Lovers, and you might meander through sacred vortexes, or portals that radiate spiritual energies. Breathe, enjoy the expansive views, and soak in the mystical enlightenment.
If you're lucky, you might just run into Robert on the Mescal Trail, a retiree beloved by the community who regularly plays his flute at the Kachina Woman rock formation. He'll hand you a hand-carved, heart-shaped red rock and tell you "There is no one on planet Earth exactly like you, and there never will be again."
Enjoy a spa day.
Deliciously sore from said hike? Relax in L'Auberge's nature-inspired L'Apothecary Spa, which offers both traditional and integrative therapies (think deep tissue massages with local, organic ingredients and sound baths) for a healing experience that equally nourishes your body and mind.
If you're looking for a truly transformative treatment, you might consider the spa's Paths of Possibilities package, a one-of-a-kind experience that includes five "paths" (Self Love, Restorative, Soulful, Nature Inspired, and Surround) of thoughtfully combined treatments. Select the path that feels most aligned with your intentions, and you'll enjoy a signature spa treatment, a holistic guided experience (like energy work or forest bathing), and a mindful lunch. Voilà! A perfectly curated spa day.
Learn the Indigenous history.
Sedona has a rich Native history that continues to influence its culture, with prehistoric sites such as the Palatki and Honanki cliff dwellings of the ancient Sinagua people that lived there from A.D. 1150 to 1350. The Yavapai-Apache Nation settled into the area centuries later, and today, they have an active Tribal Council and cultural center in Camp Verde. The Hopi and Navajo tribes also have a deep connection to the land. You can find various guided tours to explore these sacred sites and learn more about Sedona's diverse Indigenous history.
Take a day trip to Page Springs.
Take a 20-minute drive from L'Auberge, and you'll reach Page Springs Cellars, an eco-winery and vineyard that offers wine tastings, tours, and picnics (complete with housemade jam) at their beautiful estate. Sit back and savor a flight of select wines, straight from the barrel.
A quick trip to Jerome, Arizona, is well worth the 45-minute drive from Sedona. What was once a thriving mining town is now more famous as a tourist destination full of artists, musicians, and notoriously haunted locations (it was once known as "the wickedest town in the West"). Here, you can go on (another) wine tasting, learn about the now-silent mines, and even partake in a guided ghost tour.
Fun fact: The Sedona McDonald's is the only place in the entire world without the restaurant's famous golden arches (theirs are a cool turquoise). No, I'm not suggesting you must opt for fast food—just neat to see! If you're looking for somewhere to grab a bite, you can't go wrong with any of these quality establishments:
Cress on Oak Creek
L'Auberge calls Cress on Oak Creek a "culinary destination," with a menu inspired by the southern regions of Spain, Italy, and France. The restaurant calls upon locally foraged, seasonal ingredients and features an indoor dining room as well as an outdoor patio experience, so you can munch to the soundtrack of the running creek.
You can order off the all-day a-la-carte menu or leave it to the fantastic chefs to curate a six-course tasting menu that is truly a feast for the eyes (and belly).
- Cuisine: Southern European–inspired
- Price point: $$$
- Dietary consideration options: vegan; vegetarian; locally sourced ingredients
- Setting: Casual or elevated
- Menu & info: https://www.lauberge.com/dining/cress-on-oak-creek/
Make your way to Uptown Sedona, and you'll come across 89Agave Cantina, an authentic Mexican restaurant with fresh, seasonal ingredients and fun cocktails. Sip on the "Spicy Snoopy" (a jalapeño-infused margarita) and enjoy expansive views of the Red Rocks—and you surely won't leave hungry.
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Price point: $$
- Dietary consideration options: vegan; vegetarian
- Setting: Casual
- Menu & info: https://www.89agave.com/
If you prefer dinner with a view, you must make your way to Mariposa. The restaurant is perched atop a cliff surrounded by Red Rock canyons, and the 23-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows in the main dining room promise a stunning scene with every bite. The menu, curated by executive chef Lisa Dahl, features beautiful, Latin-inspired tapas and dishes that play on creativity.
- Cuisine: Latin-inspired
- Price point: $$
- Dietary consideration options: vegan, vegetarian
- Setting: Elevated casual
- Menu & info: https://www.mariposasedona.com/
Here's some packing list inspiration before you head out West:
On Running Cloudtrax Waterproof
- Suits all terrains
- Made with recycled materials
- Removable, cushioned insole allows for custom orthotics
If you're planning on exploring the Red Rock landscapes, you'll need a pair of sturdy hiking shoes. This waterproof pair features dual-density technology, with a harder top layer to protect your soles and softer cushion clouds to keep you comfortable on long hikes. It also contains a lateral mudguard to make sure the great outdoors doesn't sneak in between your toes.
Ranavat Restoring Moonseed Treatment
- Solid, balm-to-oil formula means it will pass TSA guidelines
- Soothes irritation & reduces fine lines
If you're not used to arid desert air, I have some news for you: Your skin is about to feel bone dry. Prepare for the dip in humidity by packing along a skin-barrier-supporting treatment, like this ultra-moisturizing formula from Ranavat. It contains a blend of over 30 powerful Ayurvedic ingredients known for intense skin repair, so you'll wake up with glowing, smooth skin—nary a flake in sight.
Sézane James Jumper
- Versatile & cozy
- Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified
- 100% natural Merino wool
Arizona may be known for the scorching desert sun, but it does cool down a bit at night—especially near Sedona's Oak Creek, which functions as a breezy oasis. On brisk evenings, throw this cozy, terracotta jumper over your dinnertime ensemble. It even features button placket fastening on the shoulder, so if you do wind up a bit toasty, you can unfasten a few and show a bit of skin.
Stone Creek Jewelry Round Spirals Earrings
- Locally made
- Customizable designs
- Unique, artistic jewelry
Local Arizona artist Sarah Foster crafts these unique gems from her quaint, rural neighborhood in Prescott, Arizona (about an hour and a half from Sedona). You can spend hours sifting through her stunning designs, but I quite like these round spirals, available sterling silver and ancient bronze. According to Foster, the spiral is a sacred symbol that represents the journey and change of life as it unfolds, but personally, they remind me of a Sedona vortex hike—the swirl emulates the whirlpool of spiritual energy I experienced among the vast landscapes.
You'll surely leave Sedona feeling restored, rejuvenated, and like you have all the time in the world (multiple folks dubbed the city "Slow-dona" during my stay). It's an equally thrilling and healing adventure, so there's a little something for everyone. Bon voyage…