I went down to Sedona in Arizona on a last minute flight, it was only $220 Canadian return from Vancouver, including taxes. I didn't even have to succumb to flying on Allegiant Air! Not sure why it was so cheap, I wonder if it is perhaps because it close to the last few days US Airways was in operation (before being taken over by American Airlines).
Sedona is about a two hour drive from Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport. Basically, you have to rent a car to get around- especially if you want to explore Northern Arizona, like Grand Canyon or Antelope Canyon, but Sedona itself is quite small (I'd say about 10-15km along the highway).
To save money on a car rental, I used my Royal Bank Avion Infinite Rewards Card to pay for a portion of my car rental. I rented through Budget, and was surprised to see the aggressive up-sell for a GPS, a larger more roomier car (knowing me I chose the smallest and most economical car I could find), an SUV, and insurance. I managed to escape unscathed from that transaction and declined everything.
Where to Stay
Sedona is quite expensive in terms of accommodation, of of the most economical places I found was through Trivago, Super 8. This Super 8 was pretty pimpin' and included a pool, free breakfast, super comfortable beds, and convenient location. It was still about $120 a night, which is pretty expensive for a Super 8!
Where to Eat
Cafe Jose was pretty good, large portions, Mexican and American food and good service. I had a chicken quesadilla it was good, for under $10. They have all day breakfast, if you're into that kind of thing. McDonald's must have copied them 😉
Szechuan Sedona Chinese restaurant was also quite delicious, it's right next to the Whole Foods restaurant (I should have tried that to see if it's any good). They have sushi, and for a place that isn't close to the ocean, the sushi was up to my Vancouver sushi-snob standards. It was quite packed, but the service was good. Some things on the menu were pricey, but some are are reasonable, under $12.
What to Do
There's lots to do in Sedona! It's gorgeous, with seemingly 360 degree views of the beautiful red rocks that just take your breath away. All that for free. Lots of hiking in the area too. If you're so inclined you can also take a Pink Jeep Tour for about $40-50 a person of the red rocks, there are some discounts for other operators through Groupon.
A drive up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross is free and the scenery is breathtaking. Fun to drive through the residential area and think about moving to Sedona too, for a brief moment. There's a trolley that takes you up for under $10 as well.
One of the main reasons why I went to Sedona was to take a day trip to Page, Arizona to see Antelope Canyon. I first saw pictures of Antelope Canyon from a Peter Lik gallery in Hawaii (apparently he sold a black and white shot of Antelope Canyon in 2014 for $6.5 MILLION dollars). It just looks so amazing I had to see it in person (Antelope Canyon has been one of of the items on my bucket list).
I drove 2-3 hours to Page Arizona (just on the edge of the Utah border) near Lake Powell and paid $48 USD for the for Antelope Slot Canyon Tours with Chief Tsosie. I saw the Upper Antelope Canyon which is famous for the ‘beam of light' however I went later in the afternoon and didn't see it anyway. Upper Antelope Canyon is easier to get into, and the Lower Antelope Canyon requires you to descend down a ladder/ stairs. They drive you to the Navajo reserve and guide you in a small group through the canyon. Most of the tour operators are comparable in pricing.
Antelope Canyon was just as impressive in person as it is in photographs (well, probably more impressive in person). It can get really crowded but there was threat of thunderstorms that day so there were a lot of cancellations.
Readers, have you been to Sedona before? Was it as gorgeous for you as it was for me?