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Should I Base Myself in Sedona or Phoenix?

Old Jan 31st, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Posts: 109
Should I Base Myself in Sedona or Phoenix?

Hi Fodorites...

I am planning a trip out west to Arizona and since this part of the country is relatively new to me, I need your help!

I would like to see the beautiful rock formations and desert scenery, and visit Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Very low key as this is a relaxation type of trip for me (will see if I can get a good rate at a spa or at least a hotel with spa services). Plan to stay 5 days/4 nights flying from New York.

My question to you is should I fly into Phoenix and stay there, taking day trips to
the Grand Canyon and Sedona, or base myself in Sedona (or somewhere else)? I've read wonderful things about Sedona and the Hilton Spa Resort there. Anyway, I won't be renting a car so that is a consideration for my decision. If I choose to stay in Sedona, is the drive close enough that cabs at the Phoenix airport would take me there?
I believe it's a 2 hour drive so I am guessing the answer is no...or at least would cost an arm and a leg.

Alternatively, is Phoenix a nice enough place to visit that I could take day trips or excursions from my hotel to the surrounding areas?

Thank you in advance,
tonianyc is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 08:05 AM
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I'd fly into Phoenix, rent a car and drive to Sedona, basing myself out of there for the duration.
Pappy is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 08:36 AM
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As Pappy said, base yourself in Sedona and do a trip to the Grand Canyon from there. As you already realize, going to Sedona from Phoenix via cab is either impossible or cost prohibitive. If you want to do this trip you ABSOLUTELY need a car. Even if you could get to Sedona, you still need a car to visit the Grand Canyon.

The only other alternative would be to stay in Phoenix and take one of the day tours that go to Sedona or the Grand Canyon. However, you will be touring with strangers and it is definitely not relaxing. The tours are very long days-I think most of them are up and back.

If you are interested in the tours, I am sure someone could recommend one but if you want to relax stay at one of the Sedona hotels with a spa and then drive up to the Grand Canyon one day.
paula1470 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Having been to Phoenix, Sedona, and Grand Canyon twice in three years, my answer would be... depends. Day trip to Grand Canyon from Phoenix is impractical, as it is about 4 hours plus or minus to the canyon one way. Also, time of year is a factor as well, as Sedona, Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon all get snow in winter (especially Flagstaff). Arizona is almost impossible to travel without a rental car, and the rates are really affordable, so I would plan on one. Sedona is about 2 hours or so from the Canyon, so I would consider splitting up the trip, maybe stay one night at the Canyon. If the time of year to travel prohibits you from staying within the park, consider Tusayan, which is only a mile from the park entrance, you can be at the South rim in 20 minutes. Let me know if you would like more information, I'd be happy to help.
IndyBrian is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for all your responses. Seems like Sedona and the Grand Canyon are a real trip from Phoenix. I am travelling solo and that is why the thought of renting a car and driving around in the desert on my own was
not my first preference. Maybe an package/hiking tour type of deal will be another option.

Thanks again.
tonianyc is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 04:42 PM
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As a New Yorker, you probably are not accustomed to the large distances you will find in the American Southwest. For example, from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, it is 125 miles mostly by interstate highway to Sedona.

From Sedona to the Grand Canyon via Flagstaff, it is about 130 miles.

To cover Sedona and the Grand Canyon from Phoenix is a day is an exhausting, rush-rush experience that does no justice to either destination.

Suggestion: drive up from Phoenix to Sedona, use it as a base, and take day trips to such places as the Grand Canyon (make sure you see it either at sunrise or sunset), the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, many state parks and national monuments, Indian ruins, etc., etc., etc. Slow down, relax, see more, enjoy more.
USNR is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Tonia - To add to these comments, when are you planning to take the trip? In winter through early spring you could encounter snow.

Just to put your mind at ease, though, it is an easy drive from Phoenix to Sedona, as someone mentioned, mostly interstate. The drive to Grand Canyon is easy, too. Once you head north from Phoenix, the elevation will be rising and you will be getting out of the desert and into a more mountainous area. Sedona is around 4,200 ft and Flagstaff is at 7,000 ft so that gives you an idea. I think as long as have a cell phone with you there should be no problem.

If you still are concerned about driving alone, you could rent a car to Sedona and then take a tour to the Grand Canyon. I am sure there are tour companies that do that. It sounds like a wonderful vacation to me. Relaxing at a spa in Sedona and seeing the Grand Canyon and other surrounding sights.
paula1470 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 06:01 PM
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If you are adverse to driving, you can stay in phx/scottsdale. Since you emphasize relaxation, i would not try to fit in all the suggested places such as petrified forest, canyon de chelly etc. Contact the concierge before making reservations and find out about companies that take you to sedona and grand canyon. Most companies make it a two day affair with a sleep over in sedona or the grand canyon. That takes care of 2 of your five days with the remainder left for relaxing/touring around phoenix.
An alternative is to get info from aSedona hotel or chamber of commerce and find out about shuttle trips from Phx airport to sedona ; and then trips to the grand canyon.
giro is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 09:46 PM
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Alternate suggestion--try Flagstaff as a base. It's less upscale (and more moderately priced) than Sedona but there are tons of day trips from there--Grand Canyon, Sedona, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon. You could even do the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, both wonderful.
traveller1122 is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 03:14 AM
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There is a shuttle service from Phoenix airport to Sedona. My husband took it one time. Call Sedona Chamber of Commerce and ask about it. Then I think you can get a tour to GC from Sedona, ask them about that. Perhaps call the tourist center in Sedona instead, they'll know about both. And stay in a centrally located nice hotel w/spa in Sedona where you will have Red Rock views and walking/hiking and restaurnats and shops right outside your door.
emd is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 03:15 AM
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I think that shuttle only goes twice a day though, so time your flight w/it if possible.
emd is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Sedona & don't forget to visit Jerome.
SAnParis is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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I also once considered not renting a car as they can be so expensive at Phoenix Airport. Traveling solo, you might breakeven (rental fees and gas) or (shuttle and grouptours).

Phoenix shuttle brought family from airport to Sedona for us. Reasonable cost, maybe $50?

Group tours can pick you up at your hotel and take you to Grand Canyon, maybe $100?

I am pretty sure Sedona Hilton has limited van service, too. If you do stay there, enjoy that wonderful spa!
wsoxrebel is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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Flagstaff would probably be your best bet as a base -- very close to Sedona and with an acceptable distance to Grand Canyon. The only problem could be the weather in the winter -- possibility of lots of snow
imwaiting is offline  
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