Travel Diary: Sedona, Arizona

4 days, 3 nights, and approximately 14 hours of driving in total...
Cheers to last minute travels

I’ve attached a downloadable PDF of my official itinerary that I made literally 2 days before leaving. With, of course, some minor changes as you can tell if you do choose to take a gander. I’m pretty sure you can tell which section I had to move on over… But, anyways, like the heading states- this trip was definitely one of the most last minute things I’ve ever done… not the utmost last minute thing, but definitely in my top ten.

~6.5 hours on the way, 7.5 goin’ home.

If you know me personally, you know that I am just as in love with the journey as I am with the destination. Always. But, now, I’m really re-thinking the word ‘always’ because the drive to Arizona from southern California is so brutal. So, so brutal that I truly think I had met my match. I can withstand seeing nothing for miles and sometimes even hours considering my past road trips, but the entire way? On a – straight – flat – road in the middle of a desert which is basically just dirt? Not a living animal to be seen like the cows up the 5 freeway or nevertheless, birds. Only the people in the cars who dared to travel the same road as you for whatever reason.

After hour 4? Of our drive from San Diego to Sedona on interstate 8, I concluded to myself that I would probably never make that drive again. Passing through Gila Bend, AZ, I made it clear that I will never make that drive again, considering that was one of the few little towns we would pass through and it was definitely cool to see, but I really don’t need to see it again… The drive did get better, though, after passing through the outskirts of Phoenix and up north to Cottonwood. The last hour to be exact.

Now, the way home, wasn’t too shabby. Well, the first hour down to the outskirts of Phoenix *wink. We also watched the sunset sitting in Arizona’s rush hour ‘traffic.’ (I’m from LA, what can I say. We were moving faster than 0 mph.) It was all great and fun, until the sun went down. Back to a two lane road in pitch black darkness with only the twinkle of lights on the opposite side and the stars above. After almost 4 hours of staring at nothing, we had finally made it to Palm Springs meaning civilization going forward.

Not to be a debby downer especially being so in love with experiencing everything the world has to offer, but I’d honestly rather fly than do this drive ever again. On the up-side, I can surely say I got to accomplish that drive.


Where We Stayed


We booked the Airbnb literally 5 days before leaving and I guess it was just meant to be because it was available precisely in the time span we were aiming for. Not to mention, the price for 3 nights was honestly too good to be true, but how grateful was I to have found such a gem. Only 20 minutes from Sedona in the city of Cottonwood, this private room listing was so much more than just a private room in a shared space.
Our host Marti thought of everything and put so much heart into the room and space. The deck was amazing with the view to top it off. We were able to use the kitchen and have access to all the amenities that you could think of. The room also had its own ensuite bathroom and entrance through the deck. It was one of the best Airbnbs I’ve ever stayed at. So much so that I truly did not want to leave. 10/10 recommend staying if you ever get the chance. The Green Room

What We Did


Rainbow Trout Farm

Right next to Oak Creek, a hatchery where you can ‘fish’ for Rainbow Trout and have picnic after or take ’em home. They will even clean your fish for you after paying. Great prices and fun for the family or a little lunch date just a few miles north of downtown Sedona. We caught two fish and grilled it right after.

Cathedral Rock Hike

Quick, not-too-easy hike, but not the hardest. It was so fun hiking up and even on the way down because you definitely start thinking ‘what did I get myself into.’ It gets really steep, an almost vertical climb at some points so plan accordingly. Hiking shoes are recommended, but I made it up with normal running shoes. Also, highly recommend hiking it just right before sunset.

Sight Seeing + Grubbin’

  • Sedonuts + McDonald’s with Teal Arches: Pretty self-explanatory. The donuts though… absolutely superb. A must. But they close at 12:30PM and run out of donuts pretty fast. The early bird gets the donut. Ha.
  • Airport Mesa: There is a hike to what is called The Vortex. Free parking at the trailhead and parking with a fee at the very top. We ate our Sedonuts up there with the view. A real nice time.
  • Downtown Sedona: We ate lunch with a view in downtown at Wildflower Bread Company. Such a cute place to walk and look around. You’re surrounded by all the Red Rocks with a small town feel as you can literally walk from one end to the other in about an hour or two depending on how many places you choose to look through.
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross: Amazing. I can’t even describe the feeling you get walking in. I don’t have photos of the inside for obvious reasons, but if you ever do visit Sedona, take a stop here. It’s beautiful from its architecture inside and out to the view of Cathedral Rock afar.
  • Crescent Moon Picnic Site

Takeaway Thoughts

Although I did complain a decent amount about the drive to and from… I don’t have anything bad to say about Sedona. All good things. And I will be coming back – speaking this into existence as I do have a whole list of other hikes I want to go on that I didn’t get to.
But honestly, I hope you get to experience this place yourself if you haven’t yet. Driving in from Cottonwood, the surrounding rocks had me in awe. Not like Grand Canyon awe, but pretty darn close. What a magical place it was… well to me. Sedona had an undeniable beauty about it and I’m glad to have been able to experience what I did in such a short time.

Get $50 off a stay and $15 toward an Airbnb Experience of $50 or more with my link: https://www.airbnb.com/c/paulinem481

View from Cathedral Rock

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