Kids will likely run out of energy before you experience all these 12 Best Things To Do In Sedona For Families! With so many opportunities to interact with nature in this stunning Arizona landscape, you’ll start planning your return before you’ve even departed! Its amazing desert scenery offers a breathtaking vacation backdrop unlike any other. The Red Rock cliffs will thrill even the youngest of travelers, for example, while older kids have their choice of alternate activities. Decide which best suits your little ones thanks to this list of best things to do in Sedona for families, which we gathered with help from our FLT community! Whether you ride on Pink Jeeps or learn fascinating facts about exotic animals, you won’t be disappointed here. Just be sure to consider the outside temperatures while planning your adventures. Favorite times to visit vary between March and May, when temperatures are most comfortable.
Go for a Scenic Hike
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Sedona with kids. Whether you’re traveling with younger kids or advanced trekkers, there are so many kid-friendly hikes in Sedona! To make it easier, we’ve divided our choices into beginner or advanced trails. No matter which trails you choose, hiking is a fantastic way to fill your Sedona, Arizona family itinerary.
Best Hiking in Sedona with Young Kids
If you’re looking for an easy hike in Sedona you can complete with young kids, you have plenty of options. To view striking desert scenery, we suggest taking the 1.1-mile Seven Sacred Pools via Soldier Pass Trail. It’s a great way for families with young children to see nature, and you’ll even pass some pretty, natural water pools. Just outside of Sedona, you can also try the 1.3-mile Oak Creek Trail, an easy hike with beautiful views of Cathedral Rock and the Red Rock Crossing Vortex. The nearby Baldwin Trail, a three-mile-long-loop outside the Village of Oak Creek, is also great for little ones. Keep in mind parking can be difficult to find at some of these spots, so arrive early to enjoy these kid-friendly hikes in Sedona!
Best Hiking in Sedona with Older Kids
Searching for more advanced hikes in Sedona? Older kids may love the 2.6-mile Fay Canyon Trail, which features a waterfall, beautiful canyon walls, and the famous Fay Canyon Arch. Great for adventurous families, the 3.9-mile Devils Bridge Trail is another popular hike in Sedona that passes through gorgeous wildflowers. If you want to hike less but still crave a challenge, you could also opt for the short 1.2-mile Cathedral Rock Trail, which ideal for all skill levels. Families with older kids can also head to the nearby Coconino National Forest. Try the Bell Rock Pathway, a 7-mile round-trip hike with up-close views of Sedona’s iconic rock formations. There’s also the West Fork Trail, which is also about a seven-mile out and back hike. Kids will love splashing along the way, as the trail crosses the stream 13 times!
Pro Tip: Before embarking on kid-friendly hikes in Sedona, though, consider purchasing a Red Rock Pass to display in your car’s windshield in the parking areas. Daily passes can be purchased from the visitor centers when they are open, and some parking areas have vending machines to purchase the pass before you hike.
Experience an Animal Encounter
Sedona may be located in a desert, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find innumerable living creatures for your family to see! In fact, some of the best things to do in Sedona for families involve simply being around animals. Since Sedona offers so many animal encounters for families, here are a few we recommend adding to your Sedona, Arizona family itinerary.
Horseback riding is a unique opportunity for families to experience. Kids are sure to feel like real cowboys exploring the Arizona desert! Trail Horse Adventures, located inside Dead Horse Ranch State Park, offers a variety of trail options for families. Whether a one-hour ride or a longer adventure, you’ll find a great fit for your children. In fact, some of the longer excursions include a real cowboy ranch BBQ experience! Kids will discover the thrill of horseback riding in the desert when your guide leads the way. You may even ride across streams, along the Verde River, and past ancient cliff dwellings. Keep your eyes peeled for a range of native desert animals! If your family wants to see more of Dead Horse Ranch State Park, check out its many hiking and biking trails. Lime Kiln Trail connects the park with the very popular Red Rock State Park!
Pro Tip: If you are interested in the Verde Canyon Railroad (more details later), you can combine your horseback adventure with a train ride and make a day of it!
Bearizona Wildlife Park
Sedona also boasts a ton of amazing wildlife parks for families! Bearizona, located about an hour northwest, is a great place to see American animals such as bison. The park has a drive-through and walking area for families to view animals in a natural environment. Of course, there are also bears here! You may encounter additional wildlife while driving on a three-mile path, including wolves, bighorn sheep, and burros. Then, when you stop at the Fort Bearizona Walking Area, get up close and personal with them. There’s a petting zoo, as well as a variety of animal learning experiences, like the High Country Raptors show. Families can also drive their own vehicle, or opt for the Wild Ride Bus Tour, which includes a guided narration. Bonus: it’s also free of charge! No wonder Bearizona is one of the top 5 West Coast safaris and animal parks for families.
Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Families who’d prefer an African-style safari can visit Out of Africa Wildlife Park, the ultimate animal adventure for all ages. Kids will cherish having fun while learning about these amazing creatures! Before going, check out the park’s website for up-to-date encounters. Purchasing tickets ahead of time could be wise, depending on what you want to experience. (Definitely consult the show schedule because not all encounters are available every day.) Many, such as the Tiger Splash, Giant Snake Show, and Predator Feed are included with general admission. Alongside viewing African animals like lions, zebras, and giraffes, you’ll see many other animals from diverse geographic locations. Finally, don’t miss the chance to zipline through the park. Where else will you get to soar over such exotic animals? Recently, Out of Africa also added a drive-through option. Drive your own vehicle past large habitats while spotting more than 400 animals!
Spend a Night Under the Stars
Star-gazing enthusiasts from around the country know that Sedona is one of the best places to find spectacular night sky views. The city takes pride in being one of just 20 certified Dark Sky Communities in the world! Plus, a reduced amount of light pollution in Sedona means your kids will be amazed at the vast number of stars they’ll be able to see. Note, July through August is considered the monsoon season in Arizona, and thus will be more cloudy. Due to this, you’ll find star-gazing is best from September through June!
Evening Sky Tours
One of the best things to do with kids in Sedona is to take an out-of-this-world tour with Evening Sky Tours. Professional astronomers will educate your family with an overview of the constellations including their locations, history, and how they have been used for navigation. In addition to showcasing what you can see with the naked eye, the tour also gives you the opportunity to see at least six celestial objects through their high-powered telescopes. Be sure to check out the website ahead of time to reserve your tour! Generally, the tours last about an hour and twenty minutes. Two start times are offered, meaning an early option may be ideal for families with younger children. With that said, be aware that the tour is not recommended for kids younger than six since their eyes are not yet developed to see well through telescopes.
Then, northern Arizona has another gem for star-gazing: the Lowell Observatory located in Flagstaff. This is an amazing place to visit at night to look at the dark skies through their six powerful telescopes! Families will also find educational exhibits for your kids to learn interesting facts when you visit during the day. The exhibits beautifully highlight different types of telescopes, as well as how to preserve dark skies. Lowell Observatory also offers an interactive live stream you can view on their YouTube channel!
Pro Tip: There is a lot of added value in joining a star-gazing tour and viewing the heavens through powerful telescopes. However, if your time or budget is limited, there are amazing places your family can venture to on your own to check out the beauty of Sedona’s night sky! Keep in mind that temperatures drop in the desert at night, so you’ll want to be prepared with jackets and blankets (and maybe some hot cocoa!).
Learn More About the Local Indigenous Peoples and Cultures
Both Sedona, and Arizona as a whole, have deep roots in local indigenous culture. When visiting the city with kids, consider educating them on this backstory by visiting the following interactive museums! Here are a few great options for your Sedona, Arizona family itinerary.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
When you visit Sedona with kids, reserve time to learn about the robust history and culture of Native Americans who reside in the Verde Valley. One of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America is located in the area. A five-story structure with twenty rooms built into the side of the limestone cliffs, Montezuma Castle National Monument has been standing for 800 years! Families can learn about the Sinagua people, their history, and their culture at the Visitor’s Center. You can easily see the dwelling too, but bring along binoculars and you’ll notice even more details about this ancient structure. And, you might also spot the wildlife that now calls these ruins home! Then, your family can walk along the ⅓ mile loop leading through a Sycamore grove and below the dwelling. For more exploration and educational opportunities nearby, also take the time to drive on to Montezuma’s Well.
Palatiki National Heritage Site
Palatiki National Heritage Site is the largest (and perhaps most popular) cliff dwelling in Red Rock Country! It’s accessible by taking Dry Creek Road north of Sedona and turning left on Boynton Canyon Pass Road. Here, you’ll find a Native American reservation with three fascinating trails to wander together. One leads up to the historic Sinagua cliff dwellings, and another to a more distant view of the site. Finally, the third trail leads past alcoves with painted symbols from every native culture that has dwelled in the Verde Valley. Before you go, make sure to call ahead. It’s a small historic site and can only accommodate a limited number of visitors at a time. Families can book a tour to make the experience easier, and that way you can learn more about the site’s history too. It’s surely one of the best things to do in Sedona with kids!
Honanki Heritage Site
The Honanki Heritage Site is a sister site to the Palatiki Site. Located in the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, it’s where The Sinagua peoples lived, raised kids, and made tools. Families who want to explore the site can do so on a trail to see the ruins, which is about ¾ of a mile round-trip. It’s only twenty minutes from the Palatiki Ruins as well, which makes it a great combined trip. Take the opportunity to talk to your kids about the tribes who first lived in this area while you’re visiting. Though there aren’t any tours through the site, you can take a self-guided tour thanks to the interpretive texts scattered around. Reservations are needed to currently visit. You can also book a multi-stop Pink Jeep tour through companies such as Viator, which will take you to Sedona’s best cultural heritage sites.
Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument is another must-visit site near Sedona. Just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, this two to three-story ancient pueblo ruin sits on a hilltop of limestone and sandstone. Stop at the Visitor’s Center first for an information guide and overview of the site, that way you can navigate easier with little ones. Kids will appreciate the freedom to wander the ruins at their own pace, plus you can’t beat the amazing hilltop views. Signs throughout the monument will tell you more about the people who once inhabited it. Park rangers are located throughout the site in case you have any questions! Though the pathways are nicely paved, there’s a slight incline. A ticket to Tuzigoot National Monument is included with your entry to Montezuma Castle National Monument, so we definitely suggest this Sedona attraction. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop afterward!
Pro Tip: Remember before you go that a Red Rock Pass or equivalent is required to park in the parking lots of these cultural sites. Still, engaging in local history and learning about indigenous cultures is one of the most fascinating things to do in Sedona with kids!
Take a Motorized Tour Around Sedona
If you’re wondering what to do in Sedona with kids, why not hit the open road? Here are a few kid-friendly suggestions for motorized tours around Sedona!
Pink Jeep Tours
One of the best ways to tour Sedona is to take a Pink Jeep tour! Your family can also choose from a wide variety of choices. From the 90-minute Scenic Rim tour to the all-day Grand Canyon tour, Pink Jeep will take families to the most captivating sites. One of the most popular tours is the Broken Arrow Tour, a two-hour adventure showing you Sedona and beyond. Heading into the desert, where you’ll climb over Red Rocks to breathtaking and secluded sites! Or, try the Sedona 360 tour, which stays on paved roads, more controlled for families with littles. Finally, a community favorite is the Diamondback Gulch tour, a rugged, off-road adventure. With so many options here, however, you truly can’t go wrong! The Pink Jeep Tour company understands families and the importance of good planning. Check out their advice before you make your final tour choice!
Thrill-seeking families should also check out Sedona ATV for an exciting opportunity to ride on the thousands of rugged trails around Sedona! Though recommended for older kids, it’s an exhilarating way to experience the city in a new light. Even if you don’t have experience driving off-road, Sedona ATV will set you up with everything you need for your excursion! You’ll be in complete control of your risk while exploring stunning Red Rock Country, getting a glimpse at sights you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Don’t worry, safety is a priority at Sedona ATV! Families will receive all of the instruction and equipment they need to ensure they feel comfortable and safe while out on the trail.
Jump on a family-friendly tour with Sedona Trolley! On the lighter side of the motorized tour spectrum, you can relax here while listening to a tour guide narrate all of the interesting information about landmarks throughout Sedona. This is a particularly great chance for kids to become familiar with the town and local history in a fun and engaging way. Sedona Trolley also offers two tour options for families to choose from. One will take you to the sites in south Sedona, passing the Tlaquepaque’s Art district toward the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross. The other will take you to all of Western Sedona’s must-see sights, like Thunder Mountain, Coconino National Forest, and Chimney Rock. If you can’t choose between these two options, don’t worry, there is a combination tour to enjoy everything Sedona has to offer families!
Ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad
Riding the Verde Canyon Railroad is another community favorite on our list of things to do in Sedona for families! Ride in comfort in a vintage railcar on this 3.5-hour train excursion, boasting stunning, panoramic views. Plus, there is an open-air car! Kids will marvel as they take in some fresh air, as well as the enchanting desert scenery. Travelers have been known to spot bald eagles and other wildlife during the journey as well. Don’t hesitate to interact with the friendly train attendants, since they know a lot of great information. Plus, they can provide details about the sites you are passing. Additionally, during this forty-mile round-trip adventure through the Verde Canyon, you can select from four levels of accommodations. All levels offer food and beverages and have access to the open-air railcar. Finally, the train enthusiasts in your family must explore the historic train depot and rail museum!
Visit A State Or National Park
Next on your list of things to do in Sedona for families is exploring one of the many nearby state parks. Here, we will recommend two that really stand out for families in our community! Firstly, Red Rock State Park, which offers many hiking trails and iconic views. Then, Slide Rock State Park for its natural water slide and swimming.
Red Rock State Park
Sedona is known for its iconic Red Rocks. What better way to explore them than by visiting the Red Rock State Park? Upon arrival, stop at the Visitor’s Center. Not only will you learn more about the park, but you can also view the continuous loop movie! This film provides an in-depth history of the Sedona area, as well as special aerial footage of the beautiful landscape. There are many family-friendly hiking trails within Red Rock State Park. The Eagle’s Nest trail, which is approximately 1.5 miles, will lead you through the high red flats and up a hill to a stunning view at the top. Add a piece of history to your time at Red Rock State Park by checking out the Apache Fire trail. Here, you will see an adobe house and marvel at the way it fits into the local landscape.
Pro Tip: If you have Disney fans in your family, make a quick drive down Disney Lane before you leave the area. Walt Disney owned a vacation home in Sedona. Rumors are that the landscape of this region inspired the Thunder Mountain ride at Disney World!
Slide Rock State Park
Looking for a place to cool off in Sedona? Slide Rock State Park is one of the area’s most popular destinations – and for good reason! The natural water slide within the rocks is the park’s most-loved attraction. This 80-foot-long slide has algae growing along its sides, making it a slippery, fun, and wild ride! The swimming area is 1.5 miles long, so you will find many places to splash in the water for all members of your family. Wearing water shoes will help grip the slippery rock bottom at this water feature. Before entering the park, stop at a market or cafe to grab picnic supplies. This way, you can break for a bite to eat and then keep on swimming. Finally, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated! Be prepared to carry your gear, as the water is a short walk from the parking area.
Grand Canyon National Park
Of course, families traveling to Arizona can’t miss a trip to Grand Canyon National Park! Though it’s located roughly two hours away from Sedona, we definitely recommend visiting here if you have the time. A lot of families who visit here choose to start at the South Rim because it has more viewpoints. Plus, it’s open year-round, and calm enough for children. If you’re traveling with little kids, simply seeing the South Rim may be enough for you. However, there are a lot of kid-friendly trails to explore some more. If you’re visiting the North Rim, try the Bright Angel Point Trail, Cape Royal Trail, or the Transept Trail. Families can also hike part of the South Rim Trail. Other unique experiences include riding a mule, rafting on the Colorado River, or taking a helicopter tour. Don’t forget about the Desert View Watchtower!
See The Chapel of the Holy Cross
Visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most popular things to do in Sedona for families. Set high atop Sedona’s red rocks, your kids will quickly discover all the reasons why this Roman Catholic church is a must-see attraction! Built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, this incredible structure will be celebrating its 65th anniversary of completion in 2021. Making a trip to Sedona is even more momentous now! Check out the breathtaking views upon arrival and then enter the Chapel. There, you’ll appreciate the beautiful art on display and the incredible stained glass wall held in place by the cross! Remember when you take your kids to visit this special place, you’ll expose them to one of Sedona’s best cultural and spiritual landmarks. Because it is known to be one of Sedona’s “vortexes,” though, you may even sense this mystery’s spiritual energy!
Pro Tip: Arrive early, since the Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most popular things to do in Sedona for families. (And the most heavily trafficked attraction in general!) It’s open for visitors every day of the week and is free for all visitors.
Enjoy The View From A Scenic Outlook
It won’t be too hard to find a scenic view in Sedona. However, the city also has a few designated outlooks that families should visit. Here are our picks!
Airport Mesa Overlook
Families should also head to The Airport Mesa Overlook for more Sedona scenery. Located west of the city near the Sedona Airport, it’s one of Sedona’s most famous vortex sites. Two trails lead you to the top of this observation point: The Airport Mesa Overlook Trail and The Airport Loop Trail. We recommend hiking the shorter Overlook Trail, which eventually connects with the much longer The Airport Loop Trail to circle the upper slope of Airport Mesa. On the Overlook Trail, families can walk a short path to the top of a mini-mesa, where you’ll get gorgeous views of the surrounding red rock. As one of Sedona’s best-known vortex sites, many visitors have claimed to experience vibrations rising from the ground. Ask kids what they can feel! You’ll also spot desert wildlife along the way. No wonder this is one of the best things to do in Sedona with kids.
Cathedral Rock Overlook
Last but not least is the Cathedral Rock Overlook. Accessible via Back’O’Beyond Road, families can reach this stunning outlook by hiking the Cathedral Rock Trail. This 1.2-mile hike isn’t too hard for beginners, but there are some steeper parts rated as more moderate since it’s uphill. The time it takes to reach the top will certainly be worth it, however! (As long as you remember to wear appropriate shoes and bring water!) Along the way, you’ll pass a river, plants, and lots of wildlife. Some say the Cathedral Rock Overlook provides the best views of Sedona’s red rocks. Daredevil kids can even try rock scrambling! Keep in mind this is a popular hike and parking often fills up fast. There’s a reason it’s one of the best things to do in Sedona with kids! Visit at sunset for an even more spectacular experience.
Go Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is another family-friendly activity in Sedona. If you want to try this activity with kids, you’ll be happy to discover there are a lot of family-friendly trails around town. Paths such as the Bell Rock Trail will be perfect for beginners since it’s short and flat. You could also try the Long Canyon Trail and Deadman’s Flat Mountain Bike Trail, which is fairly flat and travels from the Boynton Canyon Trailhead past the intersection with Mescal. Families who want a more intermediate biking experience can try trails like the Aerie Loop, Llama Trail, or the Chuckwagon Trail. Some resorts in Sedona even have biking trails in and around their properties, so be sure to check your accommodation for this activity. For example, Enchantment Resort offers families a guided and informative Mountain Bike Excursion, where the whole family can traverse Sedona’s rugged terrain. Kids will treasure this experience!
Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride
A hot air balloon ride is a unique way to commemorate your Sedona vacation. It’s usually only available for small groups of six or seven, but still worth the time and money. Sedona is particularly renowned for this activity because of its beautiful, desert landscape, so we definitely recommend it if you’re traveling with brave or adventurous kids. This excursion is available through multiple tour outfitters throughout the city such as Red Rock Balloons or Northern Light Balloon Expeditions. While each company offers something a little different, rest assured you’re in safe hands. Both tour companies only offer options at sunrise, so you’ll be able to see all of Sedona come to life from your position in the clouds. End your experience with champagne for parents and a light breakfast the whole family can enjoy. Suffice to say this will be a thrill for kids and adults alike!
Fish at the Local Watering Hole
Kids love fishing! Sedona has many exciting ways to fish when you visit. Firstly, visit Sedona’s Rainbow Trout Farm. There’s no need to worry about bringing equipment or obtaining a license before fishing here. The farm supplies everything you need to catch rainbow trout! Afterward, they even have grills to cook the fish you caught. Eat with peace of mind knowing that the farm raises the fish from eggs. Kids will love fishing here since they’re guaranteed to catch a fish. Parents will love how they don’t use antibiotics or hormones. What a great way to introduce the family to the excitement of fishing!
If you bring your own equipment and obtain a license, head to one of the many promising places to fish in the Verde Valley. From trout and bass to catfish, your family will be delighted by the sheer joy of reeling in a big catch! If you have time to check out only one fishing spot in Sedona, try Oak Creek. It’s a beautiful river and you can soak in the scenery while you wait for a bite. Fishing is certainly one of the best things to do with kids in Sedona!
Where to Stay in Sedona with Kids
If you’re searching for family-friendly hotels in Sedona, look no further. Families who want to stay at a luxury accommodation can book a room at the Enchantment Resort or L’Auberge De Sedona, two upscale hotels with fantastic locations and great amenities for kids. Prefer to stay in a cozier, bed-and-breakfast type of setting? Try Adobe Gran Villas, where each guest can stay in a unique, modernly-appointed Pueblo-style accommodation. Families searching for budget hotels in Sedona can book a stay at the Courtyard Sedona by Marriott, Amara Resort and Spa, and Junipine Resort, among other places.
Still need Sedona hotel suggestions? Read our full list of 7 Best Hotels In Sedona With Kids
Happy Travels to Sedona!
There are so many amazing things to do in Sedona with kids! We’ve introduced you to our 12 Best Things To Do In Sedona For Families to get you started. If you’re wondering what to do in Sedona with kids, you’ll find options from hiking to fishing to star-gazing and more. In fact, your family will have no shortage of incredible things to do in Sedona! No doubt your family will love exploring this amazing city, as well as creating many life-long memories. What did we miss? Share in the comments!
If Sedona is a stop or the final destination of a family road trip, be sure to check out our tips for staying sane on a family road trip! Additionally, if you are visiting any National Parks along the way, don’t forget that 4th-graders qualify for a free National Park pass. You can use this national park pass to enter any national parks, landmarks, or waterways that fill your road trip or Sedona itinerary.
Thank You to Our Community!
As always, this article on 12 Best Things To Do In Sedona For Families would not have been as helpful, informed, or family-friendly without the contributions and input from the amazing members of our Facebook group Families Who Love To Travel! For more travel recommendations on things to do with kids in Sedona, be sure to join us on Facebook at Families Who Love To Travel. It’s a community of dynamic families who love to adventure and explore through travel. Plus, follow us on Instagram (@families.love.travel) to connect with other families who love the unique experiences travel has to offer!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the locations on this list of things to do in Sedona for families may be temporarily closed or may have reduced services. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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