The Top Family Activities in Sedona, Arizona

Many shops can be found in the Uptown Mall on the colorful Main Street in Sedona, Arizona
Many shops can be found in the Uptown Mall on the colorful Main Street in Sedona, Arizona
Photo of Emily Roethle
7 July 2021

The red rocks and blue skies of Sedona combine perfectly to present a fantastic natural playground for families on vacation. Whether you’re up for outdoor adventures with Pink Adventure Tours, a historic trip back in time at Blazin’ M Ranch or after-hours activities with Evening Sky Tours, this desert dream of a town has something to suit. So read on and get planning.

Go wild on the Broken Arrow Tour

Sports Center
Map View
Pink Jeep Tour on Broken Arrow Trail Coconino National Forest Sedona Arizona
© Greg Vaughn / Alamy Stock Photo

Bounce around Sedona’s rust-red terrain with Pink Jeep’s adventurous multi-hour tours. Beginning in Uptown Sedona, your open-top adventure takes you winding through rugged areas of the Coconino National Forest, while certified guides delve into the city’s extensive history and natural wonders. The Pink Adventure Tours people have exclusive rights to the Broken Arrow Tour – a thrill drive of rollercoaster descents and wrap-around views – so aside from the odd hiker and biker, you’ll be pretty much alone.

Hike to Bell Rock

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View
2 hikers walking towards Bell Rock near to Sedona, Arizona, USA
© Eric Murphy / Alamy Stock Photo

Measuring just a mile, the Bell Rock Trail is a family-friendly hike that demands very little on the sweaty elevation front, but doesn’t skimp on the scenery – with picturesque views of the weather-sculpted Courthouse Butte rising against the searing sky. If your kids are craving some adventure, let them loose when you reach Bell Rock, where they’ve got a safe playground to run around and climb. Top tip: pack a picnic for a leisurely feast on a flat area of rock – but make sure you’ve applied cream to shield against the sun.

Travel to Africa at the Out of Africa wildlife preserve

Zoo, Park
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tiger at Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, near Sedona, AZ.
© Pat Canova / Alamy Stock Photo

Animal lovers flock to Out of Africa, a husband-and-wife-owned wildlife preserve where a menagerie of wild animals from around the world wander contentedly; among the prize sightings are giraffes, tigers, leopards, zebras and bears. For young ones and adults alike there’s the opportunity to learn about the creatures through the African Bush Safari tours. Expect also entertaining shows and conservation presentations, which encourage environmental responsibility from a young age. Feeling intrepid? The Racing Raptor zipline will whip you high above the preserve for an aerial view of this animal oasis.

Chug in comfort on the Verde Canyon Railroad

Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature, Train Station
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The locomotive of the Verde Canyon Railroad, Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
© Brian Green / Alamy Stock Photo

Following the curves of the Verde River, the Verde Canyon Railroad goes where no other vehicle can boldly go: on a wilderness adventure through this russet canyon. The four-hour tour rolls past towering red rocks, sparkling waters, dramatic sandstone cliffs and ruins once inhabited by the Sinagua, Hopi​, Pima and Hohokam people of the prehistoric southwestern desert. Throughout this mesmerizing journey, guides share nuggets of wisdom about the history of the area, as well as its native flora and fauna – encourage the kids to look up and see if they can spot bald and golden eagles wheeling in the skies above.

Stargaze Sedona-style with Evening Sky Tours

Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature
Map View
A beautiful shot of the Cathedral Rock under the stars, Milky Way on the night starry sky
© Wirestock, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
As a certified member of the Dark Sky Community, Sedona is quite literally a heavenly place to contemplate the brilliant night sky, without light pollution. Evening Sky Tours makes learning scintillating, with insights on the constellations and celestial objects sparkling above, and has telescopes and binoculars so you and your children can get a closer look at what’s above. The treasures of space are visible more or less nightly, but the prime stargazing season is between September and June.

Whizz into water at Slide Rock State Park

Park
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Slide Rock State Park is a popular scenic and recreation area in Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona, USA.
© Dave G. Houser / Alamy Stock Photo

Arizona is known for its soaring temperatures, but a cool reprieve for you and your young ones awaits at Slide Rock State Park, in the Pendley Homestead, an historic apple farm spreading over 43 acres (13ha). As the name suggests, this desert retreat has a trump card: a naturally formed water slide, grooved into the red sandstone. Don’t worry – it’s gently sloping, and your descent is propelled by the natural current until you land in a large, cool pool where you can swim around. After splashing about, unpack that picnic you sensibly brought and tuck in by the creek’s edge. Or press on to explore the abundant trails that lace the area.

Meet the (ancient) locals at Montezuma Castle

Archaeological site, Architectural Landmark
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Montezuma Castle National Monument surrounded by green leaves
© Martin Bergmann / Alamy Stock Photo

Take a closer look at Verde Valley’s intriguing history with a nose around this preserved ancient cliff dwelling, built into the side of limestone cliffs. It’s a five-story structure that’s been in situ for more than 800 years. First drop in at the visitor center to sign up for the Junior Ranger program – it’s been written specifically to encourage kids to appreciate the history of the Singua people who long ago inhabited the South West. There’s plenty of info on the plants and animals in the area, too. For more exploration, head to Montezuma’s Well, a sinkhole nearby. Here, if you stare intently, you should spot a turtle or two.

Go west at Blazin’ M Ranch

Store, Museum
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Blazin’ M Ranch Cottonwood Arizona
Courtesy of Blazin’ M Ranch Cottonwood Arizona

Fancy taking a step back in time to experience frontier living in the old Wild West? Blazin’ M Ranch is just the place, with its themed shops and museums and vintage tractor rides, its roping lessons, old-time photo studios and cowboy entertainment. It’s a cultural feast – not least because, after a day at the ranch, you’ll all get to tuck in to a traditional barbecue dinner, piled high with chicken, ribs, biscuits and prickly pear coleslaw; followed by some good old Western entertainment from the stage.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Marcelina Morfin.

Looking for more recommendations? Why not spend a relaxing weekend away at one of the best wellness retreats in Sedona, or book yourself a customized stay at one of these hotels suited for every traveler. Looking for more privacy? Maybe one of these vacation rentals is the place for you. Best of all, you can book right here on Culture Trip. There’s plenty of daytime fun, too; discover the top things to do in Sedona or where to find the best restaurants to enjoy a delicious meal.

These recommendations were updated on July 7, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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