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A Splendid Sedona Road Trip

If you’re searching for a quick weekend getaway, Sedona provides the perfect destination for all kinds of travelers.

With longer days and more sunshine, spring is the perfect time to venture to Sedona (although there's really no bad time to enjoy the gorgeous red rocks). Nature lovers can find endless hiking options, while those in search of luxury can enjoy world-class spa services and luxe accommodations. 

Another type of traveler that might find Sedona to be the perfect destination is the pet parent. Sedona is filled with restaurants and hotels that are perfectly pet-friendly. We were invited to check out The Wilde Resort & Spa for a hosted visit with our furry friend to see exactly what a “pet-cation” in Sedona looks like and offer an honest opinion of our stay.

Road Tripping to Sedona, Arizona

The Wilde Resort & Spa

The Wilde blends the perfect combination of a fantastic location and luxurious accommodations. You’ll find yourself right in the center of town, close to various restaurants and shops and only a few minutes from Tlaquepaque and countless galleries. If you’re hoping to stay on the property as much as possible, the onsite restaurant, Rascal, offers outstanding all-day fare and the resort has a full-service spa for all your luxurious self-care needs. 

Rangeview Rooftop at The Wilde Sedona, Arizona | WhereTraveler
Rangeview Rooftop at The Wilde Resort & Spa (©Melanie Lee)

We checked into our room on a rainy day (we even hit an odd snowstorm as we drove in from Las Vegas), and despite the chill in the air, we received a warm welcome from the front desk. Even better—the resort has ample parking along the perimeter, so we didn’t have to venture far from our car to the door to our room (literally about 20 feet). 

We stayed in a Grove Signature King Room with a patio that opened onto the Grove courtyard. The Grove offered perfect opportunities for our furry friend to stretch her little legs after a long drive, and it also makes a perfect gathering spot for families with fire pits and cornhole boards. 

Grove Signature King Room at The Wilde Sedona, Arizona | WhereTraveler
Grove Signature King Room at The Wilde Resort & Spa (©Melanie Lee)

The fireplace was already roaring when we walked in, making the warm welcome even warmer. The room’s foyer offered a perfect place for our damp shoes (it was also tiled, so we didn’t have to track rainwater onto the carpet). 

The room’s decor was understated but perfectly matched the Southwest vibes of Sedona. Adding to the mystique, a meditation crystal had been placed on the bed and guests are encouraged to use it to promote positive energy in the mind and body. There was also a fantastic s’mores kit for us to use at one of the resort’s many fire pits. 

The space was also perfect for pet parents—the proximity to a grassy space was fantastic, and the room did not have any “pet-friendly room” vibes (or smells). It was our pup’s first road trip and her first hotel stay. She enjoyed gently exploring the space while we were in the room and it felt like the perfect first time visit to a new place for her. It helped that the floor didn’t have any clutter with cables or debris and the clean area made us more comfortable letting her roam a little bit. 

Fire Pits at The Wilde Sedona, Arizona | WhereTraveler
Fire Pits at The Wilde Resort & Spa (©Melanie Lee)

Driving to Sedona

Sedona is about 4.5 hours from Las Vegas (only two hours from Phoenix and 3.5 hours from Tucson). The route is relatively direct and utilizes a good portion of I-40 between Kingman and Flagstaff, Arizona (also part of historic Route 66). Make sure to prepare for rapidly changing weather conditions—on our drive into Sedona, we experienced wind, torrential downpours and a freak snowstorm in Flagstaff. 

Because of the weather, we chose to bypass the more direct route to Sedona via State Route 89A (the steeper but infinitely more scenic route by Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park) and took the slightly longer I-17 that took us straight down a freeway versus through a windy mountain pass. From here, connect back over to 179, heading north through the Village of Oak Creek. I-17 is also the route visitors would take if they're driving up from Phoenix or Tucson for a quick and action-packed weekend getaway. 

Scenic Viewpoints in Sedona, Arizona | WhereTraveler
Scenic Viewpoints in Sedona (©Melanie Lee)

Nature Hikes and Spiritual Healing

Sedona is said to be a place of intense spiritual healing. With multiple vortexes around the area, many believe that the healing properties include a thinner barrier between this plane and the next. Whatever you believe, the time outdoors and the ability to enjoy some of the most beautiful natural landscapes can only be good for the soul. 

Many of the trails are pet-friendly (they often still require leashes for safety), but visitors should be mindful not to disturb the locals (rattlesnakes, coyotes and bobcats, to name just a few). With that in mind, make sure to pick up after pets and ensure you leave no trace—consider taking the Sedona Cares pledge to ensure the safety and integrity of the beautiful town and its surrounding natural wonders are preserved. 

Bell Rock Trail View Sedona Arizona | WhereTraveler
Bell Rock Trail View (©Melanie Lee)

Scenic Drives & Viewpoints

Sedona has been increasingly busy with tourists throughout the open hours of the day every single day of the week. Unfortunately, this has increased traffic and made parking significantly more difficult (the Chapel of the Holy Cross was jam-packed with cars). Even the lots for basic hiking trails can get crowded, making it difficult to enjoy the town's natural beauty. 

The perfect solution—opt for a local tour operator. You’ll save yourself the time driving in traffic (and you’ll be able to admire the scenery instead of minding the roundabouts) and the extra gas cost (from circling the scenic routes). You can also spare yourself the frustration of finding parking, and you’ll also be putting more tourist dollars into the local economy. 

Chapel of the Holy Cross Sedona Arizona | WhereTraveler
Chapel of the Holy Cross (©Melanie Lee)

There are multiple types of tours for different travelers—if you’re going the more adventurous route, consider a helicopter tour from Apex Air Tours or a hot air balloon ride from Red Rock Balloons. Enjoy a more rugged experience with Pink Jeep Tours or opt for a chill, scenic ride with Sedona Trolley. There are tons of different tour operators ready to make your visit as stress-free as possible.

If you’re set on driving around, take advantage of the scenic loops and viewpoints. While the rocks you’ll find on these drives might not be as well known, they’re no less majestic and definitely deserving of a few selfies. There are several safe pull-offs along the Red Rock Scenic Loops (near the entry to Red Rock State Park) with flat terrain that are perfect for those with mobility issues. 

Airport Mesa Viewpoint Sedona Arizona | WhereTraveler
Airport Mesa Viewpoint (©Melanie Lee)

Delicious Cuisine

Our hosted stay included dinner at the resort’s onsite restaurant, Rascal. Typically, hotel restaurants fall into one of two categories—either the most basic of cafes or upscale fare that’s upcharged and overhyped. Rascal fell into neither of these categories, and we were pleasantly surprised. The colorful space was bright and cheery, even on this perpetually rainy day. We opted to sit outside on the patio beneath the heaters since Rascal is pet-friendly, and we had our beagle in a carrier. 

Rascal Dining Room Sedona Arizona | WhereTraveler
Rascal Dining Room (©Melanie Lee)

The patio was covered just enough to keep us comfortably warm and dry. The menu was an unexpected culinary surprise with items to share like the charred calamari, “Hot Flakey Rolls,” and the lamb chop “Lolli-Pops.” Daily specials include favorites like the Oysters Rockefeller and veal Osso Bucco. The menu also contains several vegetarian options, lighter choices like salads and sandwiches, and even a pet menu for your furry friends. 

Rascal Scallops & Pork Belly Sedona Arizona | WhereTraveler
Rascal Scallops & Pork Belly (©Melanie Lee)

If you’re in search of an outstanding view to accompany your meal, Mesa Grill Sedona is located by the airport and provides some stunning scenery. The restaurant invited us in for a hosted breakfast, and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful red rocks and the proximity to the Sedona Airport Mesa Scenic Outlook. 

Mesa Grill Sedona Views Arizona | WhereTraveler
Mesa Grill Sedona Views (©Melanie Lee)

Mesa Grill Sedona has a little something for everyone, from lighter dishes like ancient grains to yogurt parfaits and heartier fare like the “Beef Brisket Hash & Poached Egg” and the “Toasted Lobster Cake & Poached Egg.” Diners can also find all their favorite breakfast classics on the menu, making Mesa Grill a great way to start the day. And last but certainly not least, Mesa Grill Sedona is pet-friendly. 

Mesa Grill Sedona Breakfast Arizona | WhereTraveler
"Mesa's Beef Brisket Hash & Poached Egg" at Mesa Grill Sedona (©Melanie Lee)

If you’ve spent an afternoon wandering Tlaquepaque (and honestly, you really should), El Rincon Restaurante Mexicano provides festive cuisine with a bright, pet-friendly patio and fun locally-inspired cuisine. It’s also a fantastic spot to indulge in an Arizona specialty—Navajo frybread served in the form of a Navajo pizza. Make a stop here in between your shopping and visits to the many local art galleries.