Written by | Derek Carlson

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Sedona with Kids

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As you may have guessed from the post about our travels to Jackson Hole, we love to visit places with beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. Our latest family trip was to the American Southwest, and we found that there are tons of awesome things to do in Sedona with kids.

The scenery is incredible.

The trails are super accessible from town, which is a huge plus when lugging around a 4-month-old and 2.5-year-old.

And best of all, the lodging costs are pretty affordable considering the popularity of the area.

Here are our 6 Favorite Things to do in Sedona with Kids

Sunset Park Playground

The sunset park playground is a gem of a location with covered pavilions, a fabric-covered play area to cut down on sun exposure, a splash pad, and a huge lawn area.

The playground is divided into two separate sections so toddlers can enjoy one while the bigger kids can enjoy the other.

Often during our visits, we would chat with the other parents, and it was always a good time to hear their stories of where they were visiting from.

Getting There:

Sunset playground is located on the south side of West Sedona. Turn south on Sunset drive off the main drag through town, and you’ll find it around a mile down the road.

Another bonus is that the airport loop trailhead is just across the street from the playground if you want to add in a quick hike.

Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park offers a ton of fun and some pretty cool history.

Originally the area was an apple farm started in the early 1900s by a homesteader. Some of this history has been preserved and is still available to view during your visit.

The main attraction of the park, though, is the unique geological formations in the riverbed. The slick rock is perfect for sliding, and numerous pools make great spots to sit and hang out in the sun.

Do note, though, that this is one of the most popular attractions in the area, and in an effort to minimize the ecological impact parking is limited.

We recommend showing up early and enjoying the morning hiking the trails throughout the park. That will give some time for the sun to warm everything up for a little afternoon sliding.

Getting There:

Slide Rock State Park is located 7 miles north of Sedona on the west side of the road.

There is also an entry fee so check out the Slide Rock website to get the most updated information on hours and costs.

Explore Uptown Sedona

Uptown Sedona is filled with an assortment of unique shops and restaurants. There are also a few ice cream shops to bribe the kids if they start to get whiny.

Uptown Sedona view of the red rocks at sunset

While I do admit, that this area is a bit too touristy for our taste; it still is worth wandering through as many of the shops go well beyond the typical tourist trinkets in their offerings.

Getting There:

Uptown Sedona is located in, well, Uptown Sedona. It is the Northeastern part of the city and can get pretty busy on the weekends, so plan to circle around a few times if you’re looking for a parking spot.

When we visited, our Airbnb was just a few blocks north of the main uptown area, which was super convenient for taking a quick walk down for snacks or just to kill an hour or two.

Fay Canyon Trail

The Fay Canyon Trail offers a short, easy hike for those looking to get up close to the red sandstone walls. Keep an eye out for the hidden sandstone arch ¾ miles up the trail.

Getting There:

The large, easily accessible parking lot for the Fay Canyon Trailhead is located on the south side of Boynton Pass Road, approximately 8 miles outside of Sedona. Parking is free at this trailhead.

About Fay Canyon Trail

The Fay Canyon Trail is another Sedona trail that can be a short day hike or can be turned into an all-day adventure. The main leg of the trail is approximately 1 mile long with minimal elevation gain.

Note that this is a fairly exposed trail, so be prepared on hot and sunny days.

As you hike up the trail, keep an eye out to your right as a natural sandstone arch is nestled amongst the red rocks. When you reach the end of the trail, there are several other options to continue forward, which will take you up the slick rock canyon walls and provide some incredible views of the valley below.

West Fork Trail

The West Fork Trail has been named one of America’s most beautiful hikes, and for good reason. The trail follows Oak Creek and is surrounded by 1000+ foot canyon walls on either side.

Hiking through the canyons on the West Fork Trail in Sedona, Arizona

Multiple stream crossings can present some challenges, but when the water level is low, these are easily done. Better yet, just plan on getting your feet wet and splash right through the stream as others pick their way over the rocks.

The trail does follow the river uphill, but the gradient is so slight that it feels like you’re hiking a flat trail the entire length.

Getting There:

The West Fork Trail is located 9.5 miles north of Sedona on the west side of the road.

A word of note is this is an extremely popular trailhead, so parking can be tricky. The parking lot is managed by an attendant and is gated until the 8 AM opening time. Even if you are early, expect a line of cars waiting to get in.

The Forest Service maintains a website with parking information but note that their information is not always 100% reliable.

During our last visit, the site listed the opening time as 9 AM and the parking fee as $10. These were actually 8 AM and $11 so do your homework before visiting. Also, they take cash only!

About the West Fork Trail

The West Fork Trail starts on a short paved segment heading into the canyon from the parking lot. Along this section, you can stop to examine the ruins of Mayhew’s Oak Creek Lodge.

The trail changes to dirt quickly thereafter, and you will begin the process of crisscrossing the stream. The narrow canyon offers a stunning range of views as each bend reveals a new set of rock formations far above your head.

Because the trail is located in such a narrow canyon and is covered by lush pine and fir trees, the temperature tends to stay cooler much later into the day than on other hikes in the area.

The maintained portion of the trail extends 3 miles up the canyon, so plan on 3 to 4 hours if making the entire 6-mile round trip.

Hike the Red Rock Crossing Trail

The Red Rock Crossing Trails features what may just be the quintessential Sedona picture you have probably seen 100 times. A slow, shallow stream with cathedral rock rising directly out of the middle.

Getting There:

The Red Rock Crossing trail can be accessed from a number of different points.

The Crescent Moon Day Use Sight is the most accessible but also requires a $10 fee.

Alternatively, on the other side of Oak Creek, you can park at the Baldwin Trail parking lot, which accepts the Red Rock Pass.

This route requires a ~⅓ mile walk down to the Red Rock Crossing Trail. At the intersection, you can go left, which takes you to the Crescent Moon Day Use area. Following it to the right will take you down the Templeton trail, which offers a number of access points to Oak Creek.

Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ

For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can continue down this trail another 1.5 miles to Cathedral Rock. This route requires around 200ft of elevation gain, so be prepared to be on the trail for an extra hour or two.

About the Red Rock Crossing Trail

Red Rock Crossing is a short, meandering trail with plenty of spots to walk and play in Oak Creek. This ease of access and close location makes it a popular during weekends, so be prepared for a crowd.

Note that sunset offers the best light for photographing Oak Creek and Cathedral Rock from this trail.

Final Thoughts on all the Great Things to do in Sedona with Kids

Sedona, Arizona is an absolutely wonderful spot to visit with kids. We are already looking forward to our next trip back. Especially when the weather up here in the Pacific Northwest starts getting cold and rainy here in another month!

If your family loves everything outdoors, this is a perfect place to spend a week.

Thanks for reading! Take a look at our latest posts here and follow us on Instagram (@RoamtheNorthwest) to follow along with our next adventures!