Best of Sedona on a Budget

A couple weeks ago Adam and I went on an overnight Sedona trip for our May date (from our Year of Dates). I took a half day from work and we drove up after lunch. We had an amazing stay, so today I want to share how we enjoyed some of Sedona’s most popular activities without breaking the bank.

Jeep Tour

One of the most popular things to do in Sedona is to take a Jeep tour. Neither of us had ever been on one before, so it was definitely on our must-do list. They can be a little pricey, but I found a deal on Groupon and saved over $100! We booked the Jeep + Wine tour, but they also have a regular 2-hour Jeep tour deal too. 

Did you know that Groupon occasionally has 20%-off coupon codes on top of the regular savings? I booked our tour during one of those sales, so I paid just $137 (regular price $258). But that’s not it, I also bought my Groupon through Ebates* and got cash back! They were offering 9% cash back at that time, so I’ll get $12 back.

*Side Note: If you’re not using Ebates, you’re missing out! Use this link to sign up and get a $10 bonus after your first purchase. I forget to use it half the time and I’ve still earned over $300 cash back over the years!

Anyway, if that’s still a little too expensive, the regular 2-hour Jeep tour is listed on Groupon for $76 for two people. If you can buy it during a sale plus cash back, it’ll be a little more than $25/person! And trust me, it’s so worth it!

So like I said, we booked the Jeep + Wine tour with A Day in the West and it was AMAZING! Our guide was excellent and we had such a fun time. We started our tour with some off-roading and it was a blast! We stopped in one spot for pictures and the views were incredible! We also saw a few pronghorn along the way.

After some exploring, we drove to a nearby winery. You might be surprised to know that there’s actually quite a few wineries in the Northern Arizona area. We visited Page Spring Cellars, but there are a few others nearby that would make a fun wine tasting trip.

A tasting flight was included with our tour (an $11 value) and we were able to pick between whites, reds, or a combo. I picked the white flight and enjoyed pretty much every one. We had plenty of time at the winery to enjoy our flight, snacks (Adam and I shared a cheeseboard), an additional glass of wine, and walk down to the vineyard. We ended up buying a bottle of wine to take home too!

The Jeep + Wine tour was an absolute blast and I 100% recommend going if you are ever in Sedona. We were on the tour with another couple and had so much fun with them that we met up for dinner afterwards!


There are so many wonderful hiking trails in the Sedona area. We got a late start in the morning, so we decided to just hike the short trail to the Boyton Canyon Vortex. It’s an offshoot of the Boyton Canyon Trail and is only about half a mile in (follow the signs for the Vista trail). If you’ve done any research about Sedona, you’ll know that the vortexes are a big part of the area.

The hike is pretty easy and would be suitable for most skill levels. There was an older man playing the flute on top of one of the rock formations when we got to the vortex. I didn’t feel any different energy, but he definitely made it more of an experience. He played for quite a while and then handed out heart-shaped red rocks when he left. I had read about him when I was researching trails, so I think he’s a regular out there.

There are so many other amazing trails in Sedona. This site has a great list of the most popular trails and lists of trails based on difficulty. Regardless of the trail you pick, make sure you wear sunscreen and bring lots of water. The sun in the high desert will get you faster than you think regardless of the time of year. Also, most trails will require a Red Rock Pass for parking. The day pass is only $5 and we were able to buy ours at the automatic station at the trailhead.


Elote Café

So this doesn’t necessarily fall in the budget category, but it’s seriously amazing food. I had read about the Elote Café before our trip, but we weren’t planning to go. They’re only open from 4-9 and don’t take reservations. From everything I read, the wait would be at least an hour regardless when we went (probably longer). BUT, the couple we were with on our Jeep tour were determined to go. They volunteered to go get our names on the list while Adam and I checked into our hotel. It ended up working perfectly and we only waited about 40 minutes total!

Anyway, we shared the Elote appetizer (Mexican street corn dip), each got an entrée, and then shared the Mexican Chocolate Pie. For my meal, I ordered the Smoked Brisket Enchiladas and Adam got the Chipotle Shrimp. Our new friends ordered the Smoked Pork Cheeks and Vegetable Relleno. I tried a bite of the pork cheeks and they were SO tender. We all got drinks too, so dinner definitely wasn’t cheap, but was SO worth it! We’re still talking about how delicious everything was!

Hideaway House
Looking for dining and a view? The Hideaway House is located right along Oak Creek and has gorgeous red rock views. They also have $5 drink specials and $3 off appetizers during happy hour! They’re definitely more casual of a place, so if you’ve been hiking, you won’t feel out of place in your dusty hiking clothes.

Creekside Coffee & Bakery
The Creekside Coffee & Bakery is located right next to the Hideaway House, so it has the same amazing views. It’s a cute local coffee shop with the most amazing looking cinnamon rolls that I’ll forever regret not trying. We stopped here before our hike so Adam could grab a coffee and we split a premade breakfast sandwich that was pretty tasty.

Oak Creek Brewing Company
Adam and I love trying local breweries when we travel, so this is right up our alley. The brewery location servers beer (obviously) and a limited food menu. There’s also an Oak Creek Brewery & Grill location that serves a larger menu and is located in near all of the shops downtown.


There are tons of lodging options available in the Sedona area regardless of your budget. We stayed in a hotel, but Airbnb is also a great option. The couple that we met on our Jeep tour were staying at an Airbnb and really loved it. If you choose to go that route and have never used Airbnb before, use this link to get $40 in travel credit! That’ll definitely help you fit this trip in your budget!

Anyway, as I said, we stayed in a hotel. There are plenty of options in the town, but we stayed at Cedars Resort. It’s very reasonable and it’s the perfect location. The room interior is dated, but it was clean and the views were unbeatable! This is the view from the balcony of our room!

From reading online, I think almost all of the rooms have a view like that. I didn’t have to pay extra for a room with a view. Just to compare, I looked up a random weekend and night at Cedars Resort is $159 vs. $369 at the Orchard Inn which is less than 0.5 miles away (they do include breakfast though). Of course the Orchard Inn rooms look way nicer/updated, so I’m not saying it’s not worth staying there depending on how you like to travel. If you have the money and really want to #treatyoself, the L’Auberge de Sedona is absolutely beautiful ($654 for that same random weekend as above and I think it’s a 2-night minimum).

But this guide is all about budget and I really think Cedars Resort is one of the best lodging deals. The views are amazing and it’s walking distance to the main shopping area and restaurants. I would definitely stay there again. 

There are so many other amazing things to see and do in Sedona, but those are my recommendations if you are only there for a day. If you have some extra time, I’d also recommend a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built in 1956, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel resting high up in Sedona’s buttes. The architecture is amazing and of course the views are beautiful. There’s no admission fee, but there is a small charge to light a candle inside if you wish.  

Oh, and don’t forget to do some shopping! The Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village is designed in the style of a traditional Mexican village and is a fun place to explore. There are also plenty of shops along the main street. Some are expensive, some are very touristy, but there should be no problems finding a fun souvenir to remember your trip!

Have you ever been to Sedona? Do you have any other recommendations for must see/must do/must eat?

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  1. These photos are gorgeous!! I definitely want to visit Sedona now. My husband and I love hiking so that would be totally up our alley.

    1. You would definitely love it! There are SO many amazing trails around the area. I wish we would have gotten an earlier start so we could have hiked another one.

  2. This is so amazing!! I was discussing a jeep tour with my son but we were talking about Safaris. This is even better because we can go here in the states! Thanks!

    1. There's a wildlife park (Out of Africa) that's less than an hour from Sedona. They take you out on a safari bus to see the animals. You also get to feed the giraffes!

  3. Wow, this is amazing, I love Sedona, it looks so nice! Love the idea of the wine tour and jeep rental, it's really cheap and I bet you had a great time. :)

  4. Wine and a jeep tour? SIgn me up!

    1. Haha yes! Off-roading and drinking without having to worry about driving!

  5. This is gorgeous! I love it! I feel like I definitely need to keep this in mind where when we have the baby and can actually travel and adventure again. It's so gorgeous! I loveeee the wine and scenery! Beautiful!

    1. You would love it! The wine was SO good!

  6. This looks such a fun weekend activity. Love the pictures too.


    1. It was a fun overnight getaway! Hopefully we can do it again in the fall once it starts cooling down!

  7. I've never given much thought about visiting Sedona, AZ but you certainly make it look appealing especially with combining some hiking with wineries! #CityTripping

  8. That would be a great weekend getaway. Love the tour with the wine ofcourse. Thanks for the tips if I'm ever in the states again.


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