By Chris Vassil, Travelzoo
If you don't leave a visit to Las Vegas with a lighter wallet, a few extra pounds around your belt and some shadows of exhaustion under your eyes, you're not doing Vegas right. So if you're like me, you likely need a vacation from your vacation -- and Sedona offers the perfect respite to nurse a Vegas hangover.
A four-hour drive from Vegas, Sedona is a world tucked away in Verde Valley, known for its spas, thriving art community, New Age shops and, of course, jaw-dropping landscape.
So after dropping two Alka-Seltzer and chugging a bottle of water, consider hitting the road with this three-night itinerary to red rock country.
Day 1: Recovery
- Wake up, and hit the road.
- The benefit of coming into Sedona from Vegas is you'll head into the area via Route 89A, a breathtaking welcome to the area that folks coming up from Phoenix don't get to experience. Have your camera at the ready.
- Upon arriving, you'll need hangover sustenance. Stop at the town's McDonald's -- the only one in the world without the famous yellow arches (they're turquoise, as requested by the local government to blend with the town's surroundings).
- Check into your hotel and, if it has one, head straight to the pool for a respite.
- In the evening, visit the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, fashioned after a traditional Mexican village. It could sound cheesy, but it's actually quite lovely with its lush gardens and trickling fountain, perfect for window shopping and a bite for dinner.
- Travelzoo Tip: If you're feeling up for it, the Grand Canyon's West Rim and Skywalk is only two hours from Vegas and well worth the stop if you've never been before. There are some pretty steep entry fees, so be prepared. It costs about $44 per person just to get to the canyon itself, and another $33 to go on the Skywalk (a glass-bottom platform that juts out 70 feet over the canyon). It's a "cool" tourist trap, but not a must-see -- if you're looking to save a buck, just purchase the base admission.
Day 2: Rejuvenate
- Feeling a bit better? Wake up early and take an easy morning hike.
- A great option is Yavapai Loop Trail and Overlook Point. Parking is ample, the crowds are pretty thin in comparison with the popular Cathedral Rock trails, and the overlook offers a sweeping view.
- Find your spirituality at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a truly unique church built into the red rocks offering solace with a beautiful view. Or meditate at one of the area's four famous vortex sites, where it's said that the earth's spiritual energy circles around like a tornado.
- In the afternoon if it's warm out stop at Grasshopper Point, a popular swimming hole at the base of Oak Creek Canyon that's popular with locals. Entry is $8 per car.
- End the day with a splurge on a treatment at one of the area's renowned spas including Kimpton's Amara Resort & Spa, the Enchantment Resort or L'Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa.
Day 3: Rebound
- You're feeling normal again, so after waking, kick it up a bit with a hike up to Devil's Bridge, the largest natural stone arch in the area, and not for the faint of heart. Unless you have an off-roading vehicle or are going with a tour group, the hike's about four miles (roundtrip) from the parking area and includes a steep hike up to the top, but it's well worth it. Don't expect solitude as the trail's pretty popular, but it's great because there's always a friendly hiker to help take your photo on the bridge.
- After working up a sweat, head across town to Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market along Route 89A. The quaint roadside market has lots of local craft brews worth trying and tasty made-to-order sandwiches that can be enjoyed in the garden out back.
- If it's warmed up in the afternoon, slip on your bathing suit and head up the road a bit to Slide Rock State Park, named after the rocks that form a natural waterslide, a truly memorable and one-of-a-kind experience. $20 entry per car.
- It's your last night so splurge with a dinner at the Latin-inspired Mariposa, one of the area's "hottest new restaurants" (USA Today). Plan ahead and book a sunset reservation on the terrace for some truly stunning views. And since you've fully recovered, you'll really enjoy the robust wine list featuring Argentinian and Chilean wines.
This piece was originally published on Travelzoo.
Chris Vassil is a publisher at Travelzoo and based in Chicago. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.