Updated on August 3, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
To prepare for your Sedona trip, you’ll find below a list of the 17 essential items we encourage you to pack to make the most of your stay. We also include what to wear in Sedona and bring, as well as some FAQs about Sedona.
What to pack for Sedona – 17 Essentials
1. Day Pack
No hiker, regardless of experience, leaves the house without a trusty day pack. This HIKPRO 20L is as durable as it is lightweight, and you can even fold it up so that it fits easily in a pocket of your luggage for easy storage! It can definitely take the wear and tear of outdoor life while also providing you stability and organization as you carry necessities such as a water bottle, your phone, sunscreen, and more.
Everyone knows that accidents can happen. For this reason, it makes sense to be prepared. Be sure to toss this first aid kit into your bags when you’re travelling, or store it in your car while you travel throughout Arizona. It doesn’t matter if you’re exploring the towns, golfing on the green, or hiking through the canyons; a good kit like this one will keep you safe.
3. Neck Wallet
Fashioned from top-grade materials, such as ripstop nylon fabric, this neck wallet will be your saving grace as you traverse Sedona. You won’t have to stop and rummage around your purse or your backpack looking for the small items you need, such as your credit card or your ID, when they’re hanging comfortably and conveniently around your neck. It comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee, too!
You know the feeling: you’re out and about, you look at your phone, and you realize that your phone is at a low battery percentage. Avoid this happening ever again with the lipstick sized phone charger. Lightweight and powerful, you will never again miss the opportunity to take a photo, a video, or send a text while on your trip due to a low battery.
Take the extra precaution of protecting your phone while you’re outdoors with this waterproof phone case. In the event you get stuck in the rain or you want to use it while you are lounging by the pool, this case will keep your phone or other belongings dry. You can even take pictures while your phone is inside of it.
A must-have if you’re sharing a suitcase with someone else, or if you’re going for an extended trip and need to bring a lot of varied items. These packing cubes promise organization and ease in your travels. The different sizes allow you to separate your items based on size or type, which will save you time as you unpack when you reach your destination.
Travel Insurance isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list when exploring the West Coast, but it is something you won’t regret if you ever find yourself in need of it. World Nomads offers coverage for trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and 24/7 medical advice or evacuation assistance. You can never be too careful when exploring new areas.
The summer months in Sedona can bring a host of bugs ready to spoil your party. Equip yourself with this bug repellent to ensure that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy your trip without having to swat away insects. If you’re flying and can’t bring liquid, then try these insect repellent wipes, instead. Both are DEET-free.
9. Beach Bag
Although Arizona is land-locked, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to go for a swim at one of Sedona’s famous swimming holes. Ready yourself for a great day by the water with this beach bag, which can fit your towel, sandals, hat, and some snacks for when you’re hungry. It’s also water resistant, so you won’t have to worry if you get splashed or if it rains.
10. Dinner Outfit
It’s common knowledge that the most activity in Sedona occurs in the day, and there’s a joke that it sleeps early. Fortunately, however, the restaurant life is thriving. Bars and trendy places to eat are abundant, you’ll have no problem finding somewhere to unwind after a day of hiking, backpacking, or swimming. Grab your heels, your bag, and some flashy earrings to pair with this off-the-shoulder dress for your dinner on the town.
A good golfer knows that if you’re going to be walking for lengths of time, your clothing should move easily with you. Opt for this lightweight shirt and pants set, made from breathable material that also looks stylish. The pants pockets are big enough to store a few golf balls as you make your way from hole to hole.
Record your most cherished memories on your trip with this waterproof camera. With amazing focus both under the water and above, you’ll be able to completely revamp the typical action shots that you’re used to taking. The entire kit comes with rechargeable batteries, a case, and a remote control. You can even take video!
Toss this Lifestraw water bottle into your pack if you’re going on a day hike, camping trip, or if you’re simply seeing the outdoor sights. The powerful fiber membrane technology within the straw makes it safe for you to drink water from streams and lakes while you’re out, should you need an additional hydration source.
14. Walking Shoes
A pair of shoes can make or break your trip, especially if you’ll be spending quite some time on your feet. Shoes with comfortable material, flexible backing, and support for your soles is going to be key as you make your way through the important landmarks of Arizona. Though these are NOT recommended for hiking, use these on your day excursions, such as an afternoon of shopping or museum touring around town.
15. Sun Rash Guard
We can’t stress enough how crucial it is to protect yourself from the Arizona sun, even if you’re someone who “tans easily” or doesn’t always use much sunscreen. You’ll be able to stay in the sun even longer if you wear your rashguard and pair it with sun block for an added layer of defense. Quick-drying and stylish, you won’t want to leave without it.
In the intense heat, keeping your body dry is going to be a vital component. These comfortable quick-dry hiking pants will keep your body from getting wet due to the moisture from the weather, such as a rainfall, or from the sweat you produce as you hike up and down those canyons. Pair it with a light colored athletic shirt for the full outfit.
17. Hand Sanitizer
One can never be too careful when it comes to eliminating germs and bacteria. No matter the occasion or the agenda item, toss some hand sanitizer in your bag to have on hand. You’d be surprised how many surfaces you’ll come into contact with on your getaway, and who knows? You might want to have an impromptu picnic and feel the need to clean your area.
Other Sedona packing list items not to forget
Lip Balm with SPF
Travel toilet paper
ID / card holder
Bandana / Handkerchief
Beach cover up
Hair ties / elastics
Aloe Vera Gel
Hanging Toiletry Bag
What to Wear in Sedona
The other thing to remember is that it gets cool at night, despite the hot day temperatures. It’s important to add layers to your outfit, even something removable like a sweater or a shawl. That way, you can always take it off should you decide you don’t need it.
Finally, proper footwear is going to be essential. Don’t wear sandals on a hiking excursion, and similarly, don’t wear your trail boots for a night on the town. Vary your look depending on the events: a great outfit for the nightlife, a layered outfit for an evening walk or stroll through the town and a breathable athletic outfit for the outdoor excursions.
Women would do best to choose lightweight, flowy, breathable items when possible, such as when you’re going out to a restaurant, visiting one of the many cities, or taking a walking tour. When it comes to the more outdoorsy activities, the same rules apply, although your outfit choices will revolve around safety and sun protection. Go with clothing choices that allow your body to breathe and move freely.
Finally, cute bathing suits and accessories will provide an element of style to your collection. A floppy sun hat and some sunglasses can take a bathing suit from ordinary to extraordinary.
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
If you’re visiting in the hotter months, you’ll more than likely see men sticking to simple outfits such as cargo shorts, hiking boots, and a dry-fit shirt of some sort. When going out in the evenings, the same idea applies: opt for breathable materials that will keep you comfortable and cool. For golf outings, you’re going to want flexibility as well as light colors while you’re out on the green for the better part of the day.
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
SPRING – March, April, May
Though the mornings in Sedona can become quite cool and lovely, the temperature starts to pick up shortly afternoon. There is, therefore, a fluctuation in temperatures not just throughout the day, but throughout the state itself. For this reason, many visitors prefer to do their hiking and outdoor activities in the morning, especially if you’ll be going to one of the three national parks within the state. Pair some cargo shorts with a breathable, quick-dry shirt on your visit to the desert areas. You can also take along a comfortable hoodie which can always be removed if the temperature should increase.
Spring is also characterized by its dryness, so you might not need to bring as much waterproof and rain gear as you would if the climate featured more moisture. Instead, you’ll be exposed to hours of warm sunlight. Pack a sun hat and some extra sunscreen for the occasion. Temperatures throughout Spring range from a high of between 66℉ to 84℉ (19℃ to 29℃) to a low of between 38℉ and 52℉ (3℃ to 11℃), with May being the hotter of the three months.
SUMMER – June, July, August, mid-September
The hottest month of the year in Sedona is July, and it’s not uncommon to see highs of three digits throughout the summer. You’ll also notice that there are more summer months than any other season. Therefore, protecting yourself from the sun and keeping your body temperature down is going to be your top priority in dressing for the summer months. For a trendy look that also allows your body to keep cool, a breezy summer dress and some comfy sandals.
If you’re doing anything on the water, which you will definitely want to in order to cool down, don’t forget to pack all of the necessities in addition to your swim trunks: a beach bag, beach towel, and plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. Temperatures throughout Summer range from a high of between 88℉ to 93℉ (31℃ to 34℃) to a low of between 60℉ and 66℉ (16℃ to 19℃), with July and August being the hottest months.
FALL – October, November
One of the most popular outdoor attractions during the fall season in Sedona is to see the colors of the leaves changing. In fact, the first or second week in October is the best time to see the plethora of hues from the great trees scattered throughout the area, and even though in terms of temperature, it won’t exactly feel like a regular fall, the warm reds, oranges, and yellows might say otherwise. Fall is the shortest season in Sedona, so be sure to take advantage of it before it passes you by!
Because the afternoons are much warmer than the mornings or the evenings, you’ll want to layer your outfits. Go with a cool, flowy tank top, a pair of jeans, and some flats. Pair the outfit with a shawl or an open-front cardigan that you can remove easily. Temperatures throughout the Fall season range from a high of between 66℉ to 78℉ (19℃ to 26℃) to a low of between 39℉ and 50℉ (4℃ to 10℃), with temperatures dropping as you get closer to November.
WINTER – December, January, February
While many don’t automatically think of Sedona as a winter destination getaway, there are plenty of reasons to visit during the off-months from December through February. For one, many people don’t typically travel there during this time of the year, so you won’t find the destinations to be as crowded as usual.
The more north you travel out of Sedona around the mesas, the more likely you’ll be to find snow! Many people enjoy cool-weather activities such as hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, and holiday excursions through the town, which is a-glimmer with festive decorations during this time. If you’re set on enjoying wintertime excursions, then pack on the layers. Remember to bring a half-zip for when you’re outside, some comfortable yet fashionable boots, and a scarf if you plan to be outdoors after dark. Temperatures throughout the Winter season range from a high of between 57℉ to 61℉ (14℃ to 16℃) to a low of between 32℉ and 35℉ (0℃ to 2℃), with temperatures warming as you get closer to February.
ATV Riding – A major outdoor activity that tourists flock to is the ATV riding experiences throughout the desert areas of Sedona. Because of the amount of dirt and sand that is kicked up on the ride, you’re going to want to wear a bandana and a pair of sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Your shoes should be sturdy, so grab a pair of hiking boots or other types of rugged, durable shoes. A light, breathable shirt, preferably dry-fit, is your best bet. Since there are also little storage compartments in the ATV itself, you can pack water and some snacks to keep you going.
Hot Air Balloon Riding – If you’re a fan of heights and majestic aerial views, then a hot air balloon ride over the Red Rocks is right up your alley. Because most hot air balloon rides take place in the early morning when it’s cool, you’ll want to wear either a long-sleeved shirt or a sweater, comfortable pants such as jeans, and closed-toed shoes such as sneakers. Remember you’ll be on your feet for the duration of the ride. Any accessory you bring should be on a lanyard, securely fastened around your neck.
Landmark / Living History Touring – Many of the landmarks in and around Sedona are dedicated to Native American individuals and tribes, or are Native American ruins that you can visit. Build what you wear around your shoes, for you’ll be on your feet all day. Choose breathable, comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support for your soles. Since the indoors might be slightly cool, try wearing jeans and an airy blouse. Throw on a sweater or cardigan that can be removed if you need it, and store your important items, such as your credit card or your ID, in either a neck wallet or a cross-body bag for easy access.
Swimming at the Watering Holes – All of the items you’d typically pack for a beach outing or a day at the pool will be fine for a day at the lake. Make sure to bring your bathing suit, some type of a cover-up or sarong, and your water shoes. If you intend to layout and sunbathe, then you can’t go wrong with a sturdy sun hat and a strong SPF sunscreen, most notably one that is waterproof. For the kids, opt for the spray-on kind that you can apply easily throughout the day.
What NOT to Bring to Sedona:
2) DON’T BRING Important documents (other than ID / Passport): As with money and jewelry, your hard to replace documents are going to cause you a headache. If you feel that you really need an important document, then scan it and make a copy for you to take on your trip. That way, if it gets lost or damaged, the original is still intact.
3) DON’T PACK Low-SPF sunscreen: Sunscreen is one important skincare step that most people actually skip, to the detriment of their health. A low SPF sunscreen isn’t going to last you very long in the Arizona sun, especially if it isn’t waterproof. Choose a stronger SPF that’s waterproof so you don’t have to keep applying throughout the day.
5) DON’T PACK Too much dark clothing: Of course, if you’re looking to pack a gorgeous black dress or some nice dark-colored slacks, then make sure you’re wearing those things in the evening, or that you’ll be inside for the most part. When you’re hiking, visiting one of the canyons, or out on the water, you’re going to want to stick to the light-colored clothing.
6) DON’T BRING An overly expensive camera: Too many people have lost or dropped their electronics in water or over the edge of a high cliff. This happens often in and around the many canyons throughout Sedona. Although you’ll be tempted to bring your expensive, high-resolution camera, it’s best to go with one that’s a little less expensive to avert any major risk.
FAQs about visiting Sedona
1. Are there beaches in Sedona?
The state of Arizona is certainly not known for its beachfront destinations, although it has a lengthy amount of shoreline. There are, however, many watering holes and areas to swim in Sedona. And yes, there is sand at some of them! A few popular waterfront destinations in Sedona include:
- Red Rock Crossing
- Grasshopper Point
- Slide Rock State Park
- Wet Beaver Creek
2. What do I do if I see a rattlesnake while hiking?
If you see a rattlesnake, which is easily identifiable due to its triangular-shaped head, the first thing you’re going to want to do is stop moving immediately. Rattlesnakes will rarely attack hikers unprovoked, so it’s safe to assume that if a rattlesnake feels scared or threatened, then they’ll go into attack mode. Freezing in place eliminates that risk to the snake. Secondly, you’ll want to back away very slowly, but don’t take your eyes off the snake. Most importantly, don’t throw anything at it, don’t try to push it out of your way with a stick or a hiking pole, and don’t try to scare it away by making a lot of noise. Try to find another path or turn around if you can.
3. What is the nightlife like in Sedona?
Sedona isn’t exactly known for its bustling nightlife and many of the things that you can do specifically revolve around food and drink. There are, however, different restaurants, pubs, saloons, and bars for you to check out. What’s not to miss, however, is the incredible views of the stars; since Sedona isn’t particularly cloudy, you can see the stars on virtually any night.
4. When is the best time to travel to Sedona?
This depends on how well you can take the heat. If you don’t mind intense temperatures, then the late Spring / early Summer will work for you. Due to the heat, some places in Arizona close down for the summer, so you might be surprised at how few people you see out and about in common tourist areas. January through March is considered the off-season for travel, and you’ll get some good rates on places to stay and excursions when you book for the off-season.
5. Is Sedona an expensive destination?
Traveling to the state of Arizona has been listed, at least by AAA, as one of the higher-than-average states to visit due to the price of food, transportation, and lodging. Sedona is also listed as one of the higher-priced towns to live in if you are an Arizona resident. The amount you spend on your trip is dependent upon your itinerary: if you choose to rent an ATV, expect to pay a few hundred dollars. If, however, you go and explore the outdoors, you might not have to pay as much to see the scenic views.
If you plan properly, you can get away with spending less than usual. Look for deals when possible, or – if you don’t mind cooking on your stay – try to cook for a few meals to cut costs.
6. What is there for children to do in Sedona?
Not every child is going to enjoy a hike through the desert or the canyons of Sedona. For this reason, a few modifications to the itinerary might be necessary. In Sedona, kids can take a Jeep tour or the Sedona Trolley, which takes them to many of the major landmarks throughout the city. Slide Rock State Park is also great for swimming and features a natural water slide for them to enjoy.
7. What are some historical landmarks in Sedona?
Sedona is home to four locations that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include Jordan Ranch, a ranch complex that today is a working museum; the historic Hart Store, which opened more than 100 years ago; the Sedona Ranger Station and Pumphouse; and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. There are also the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, a holy park that features religious and spiritual structures where people go to meditate.