Spring is here! In Arizona, this means the weather will quickly start heating up and the dreaded summer will be here sooner than we desire. But, with warm weather comes more opportunities for outdoor adventures, something my kids and I are obsessed with. I’m definitely raising them to love being out in nature. These kids will hike any chance they get and especially love finding natural swimming spots.
One of our favorite places to visit during the spring and summer months is Sedona. It’s an easy 2-hour drive from the Phoenix area, has the best scenic views & cooler weather. Over the past few summers, we’ve gotten to explore so many parts of Sedona, each time discovering new areas we love.
Here’s our top 7 favorite spots to visit in Sedona…
Grasshopper Point – nestled at the base of Oak Creek Canyon – is by far the kids’ favorite place in Sedona, mainly because of the cliff jumping. The water here is clear and beautiful, and the walk from the parking lot isn’t far at all (but is a bit rocky). The kids were a little intimidated of jumping at first (and this mom’s anxiety was through the roof when they finally decided to give it a try), but once they did, they were hooked and beg to come back every chance we get. Even my little guy had a blast playing in the shallow water. See how to get there here!
Crescent Moon Ranch is also at the top of our list and in the video below, you’ll see why. With stunning views of Cathedral Rock in the background, and greenery everywhere, it truly feels like paradise. We discovered that the further back you hike, the better – and more secluded – it becomes (see video below to get an idea of all the different areas you can swim and picnic in). See how to get there here (just follow trail from parking lot).
The video below shows our time at both Grasshopper Point and Crescent Moon Ranch. If you’re planning a day trip, it’s definitely easier to carry food and drinks in a backpack rather than an ice chest, but both spots are great for spending an entire day at. Don’t forget sunscreen and your camera!
We spent an afternoon hiking to this ginormous sinkhole (and the 7 Sacred Pools) along Soldier Pass Trail No. 66 and as you can tell from the video below, the kids were astonished by it. It’s an easy 1.1 mile hike, with amazing scenery along the way (and plenty of spots to stop and picnic). There’s signs along the way directing you to the sinkhole and pools. We went during a time when the water in the pools was low (see photos below), but still had a great time exploring. See how to access Soldier’s Pass Trail here.
Definitely plan to spend all day here (or at least an entire afternoon) because it really is a super cool place. The trout farm provides bamboo fishing poles, bait, nets and everything else you need, and is stocked with a seemingly endless supply of rainbow trout. Catching fish is so easy here, and you only pay for what you catch. Employees will then clean the fish for you and supply you with foil, lemon & seasoning packets so you can grill your own fish at one of the many picnic areas around the farm. They will also string the fish for you first, so you can get great photos of your catch!
In the video below, a few of my girlfriends and I took our kids (8 kids combined) to the farm for a day and brought an entire picnic with us to go along with the fish the kids caught and grilled. We wheeled our ice chest and wagon (with extra chairs) right into the farm from the parking lot. It can get pretty busy here at times, so I highly suggest getting here early, but it’s still very relaxing and so much fun, plus it teaches kids how to reap the rewards of being patient.
There’s a creek that you cross from the road to get to the farm, but the farm doesn’t allow creek access. You can drive a little bit down the road, like we did, and access the creek from many different spots. It’s the perfect way to end the day!
This is another favorite for us, and probably one of the most beautiful trails in Sedona. It’s so stunning – in fact – that I use this trail to take engagement photos for couples. The trail is an easy shaded hike with towering canyon walls that guide you through lush foliage that lines the creek bed. You do have to cross the creek in several places, so I highly recommend wearing water shoes. There’s a lot of really cool places to stop at along the way, like the amazing bridge, ruined walls, a small cave and an abandoned cabin, but the best park is cooling off in the creek as you stroll along it.
Slide Rock State Park is a 43-acre historic apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon and is one of the most popular places in Sedona, for good reason. My kids were still pretty young the last time we went, but it’s a truly great spot for hiking, sliding, swimming and jumping. You can easily spend an entire day here enjoying the breathtaking views and crystal-clear water.
There’s a lot of other things for kids to do here as well, such as becoming a Junior Ranger, viewing wildlife (Coues Whitetail Deer, Black Bears, Javelina and gorgeous birds live in this area), and exploring the many trails.
There you have it! Those are my family’s favorite spots in Sedona. We absolutely love packing some drinks, lunch, swimsuits and sunscreen and driving up to Sedona for a day to spend some time exploring and swimming. As you can tell from the photos and videos above, we’ve been visiting Sedona since my little ones were just babies. Today, my kids are 7, 9, 13 & 14 and still absolutely love taking these day trips.
Let us know in the comments below which spot you and your family are going to check out first, or what spots you love most in Sedona, Arizona.