Sedona is a gorgeous destination located in the Arizona desert. There is plenty to do from hiking excursions to hot air balloon rides at all times of the year. Beyond the picturesque landscape, Sedona has a vibrant community brimming with activities to do.
You can immerse yourself in Sedona's wine culture and visit a vineyard, or check out the town and see a show. Sedona is far more than meets the eye.
The best time to go to Sedona is in the spring and fall to enjoy the festivities without the sweltering heat. However, if you're hoping for a tourist-free Sedona, the winter would be ideal. The average cost of a room also decreases by 40% during this season. However, the weather is suboptimal at around 30-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Visit Sedona throughout the year for a mesmerizing experience. Lace-up your hiking boots and hit the trails, or see Sedona by river or air. Sedona has something to offer everyone.
What is the Worst Time to Visit Sedona?
Sedona has something to offer year-round, but the worst time to visit is in the Winter. The desert can get incredibly cold, especially at night. Although you can still take brisk daytime hikes, camping and aquatic sports are off the table.
The Winter is cold, and there are not too many events going on from November to February. Holiday markets pop up, and the arts are always vibrant. But a lull in festivals and events leaves some options for things to do closed.
Sedona is still gorgeous in the Winter and uncrowded. It is not necessarily the wrong time to go, but remain vigilant of how cold it can get.
What is the Cheapest Time to Visit Sedona?
Rates in Sedona for travel and lodging drop in the Winter. The poor weather means fewer tourists and cheaper options for things to do. If you are willing to bear the cold, the Winter will save you a bit of money.
Much of the popular Sedona attractions are still available in the Winter. You may not be able to get on the river and do watersports. However, you can still hike, go off-roading, and see the park by air.
If you choose to visit in the Winter, camping is ill-advised due to how cold the nights can be. Stay in one of the many hotels in the area or choose a rental property.
What Time of Year Does Sedona Have the Best Weather?
Sedona has the most gorgeous weather in the Spring and Fall. Daytime temperatures linger around the low 70's with chilly nights. You can participate in just about all that Sedona has to offer in the Spring and Fall, from water sports to hiking.
The Fall and Spring also have the most events happening. From festivals celebrating everything from wine to hummingbirds, there is plenty to do during Sedona's high seasons.
Spring is also one of the most popular seasons due to the desert bloom. In the Spring, the entire desert lights up in vibrant colors as the wildflowers emerge!
Best Outdoor Activities & Festivals in Sedona: Monthly Breakdown
January: Get Up In the Sky by Helicopter or Hot Air Balloon
January in Sedona is notoriously brisk. With temperatures cool and less pleasant hiking weather, this month is the perfect time to view the scenery by the sky. Luckily, Sedona has a handful of modes of air transportation to choose from.
One of the most unique options for a birds-eye-view journey is by hot air balloon. Sedona has numerous companies that will take you up in the sky, but one of the best is Red Rock Balloons.
One of the most epic adventures that they offer is a sunrise balloon ride. Take to the skies in the early morning to watch the sun emerge. This is especially beautiful as it's happening from behind Sedona's notorious red rocks. If you aren't sure about a hot air balloon ride, you can also go up by helicopter.
- Chamber Music Sedona's Winterfest
- YPAC Concert series
Related Read: 15 Best Camping Spots in Sedona
February: Check Out the Sedona International Film Festival
The Sedona International Film Festival showcases independently produced films from across the world. They highlight numerous genres such as documentaries, animation, and even student films.
During the chilly Sedona winters, February is the perfect time to welcome this Festival to town. Bundle up and settle in for one of the films. It is an excellent way to broaden your worldview without leaving a cinema seat.
The 9-day Festival features hundreds of films. The Festival celebrated its inaugural year in 2003 and has only grown since then. Looking to get into the world of filmmaking? The Festival goes beyond film screenings. It hosts Q&As with producers, workshops, and even panel discussions from people in the movie business.
- Sedona Marathon
March: Participate in Sedona Yoga Festival
Get in tune with nature during the Sedona Yoga Festival. Join a community of international yogis for the most mindful event in Sedona.
Visitors can look forward to a handful of unique attractions during the event. Some of the highlights of the Festival include:
- Seminars on yoga philosophy and astrology
- Energy medicine lessons
- Conscious yoga training
- Kid's yoga classes
Beyond yoga, participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the nature surrounding Sedona. Take a morning nature walk, get out by kayak, and enjoy all that Sedona has to offer during this 4-day celebration.
- Sedona Mountain Bike Festival
- Sedona St. Patrick's Day Parade
Related Read: 40 BEST Things To Do In Arizona
April: See the Desert in full bloom
April is one of the peak tourist months that Sedona has for a reason - desert bloom. Sedona is home to hundreds of species of wildflowers, and they all come into bloom in the springtime. April is the perfect month to see this colorful array.
Desert wildflowers sprout up through the topography, creating a gorgeous mosaic of color. Sedona is anything but colorless at other points of the year, but the floral display adds to the complexity of the landscape.
The best way to see the desert in bloom is to go hiking. Sedona has numerous foot trails to traverse the desert safely. Check out one or a few on your vacation and marvel at the splendor.
- Celebration of Spring
- Piano on the Rocks International Festival
May: Take a Jeep Tour
Another popular way to get around Sedona is by offroad Jeep. Roll around Sedona with a small group to take in the scenery without too much physical strain.
May is the perfect time to take a Jeep tour due to the glorious weather of this month. There is still some chill left in the air from Spring with the welcoming warmth of summer on the horizon. By Jeep, you can feel the cool breeze of Sedona out the window of a comfortable vehicle.
Jeep tours across Sedona offer more than a drive. Their expert guides talk to patrons as they traverse the park to learn about the history and topography. It is an excellent gateway into Red Rocks State Park.
- Cinco De Mayo Celebrations
- Open Mic Nights at Camp Verde Community Library
June: Snap Some Pictures at Sedona Photofest
Sedona Photofest spans a June weekend and welcomes professional and amateur photographers. The Festival aims to educate, inspire and nurture photographers to excel at their craft.
The three-day Festival is an excellent way to mature as a photographer. Beyond seminars and lessons, photographers go on group walks to learn about capturing the best shot possible. It's a bonus that the Canvas of Sedona is so mesmerizing.
Sedona Photofest is also a showcase of fashion. Models are brought out for photographers to capture in the Red Rocks. Contests for the best photo in a range of categories make for a nice close to the weekend.
- Sedona Yoga Festival
- Chakra Meditations
July: Go Birdwatching at Sedona Hummingbird Festival
Sedona is constantly ranked as one of the most stunning places in America to see hummingbirds. Hummingbird Festival is the perfect attraction for aviary enthusiasts. The Festival offers seminars, lessons, and presentations on the best way to view hummingbirds and protect the species.
The Hummingbird Festival is also home to the Hummingbird Marketplace. The Marketplace allows local vendors to sell their goods to the visiting birdwatchers.
- July 4th Fest
- National Day of the Cowboy
August: Beat the Heat and Kayak the Verde River
The desert heat can be brutal, so use the opportunity to check out some of Sedona's natural water features. One of the best ways to do this is by kayak.
Sedona has numerous kayak rentals across the park. The Verde River is the most popular place to do this. Beyond kayaking, visitors can also go tubing, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Looking to take a tour or join a group of others? Verde Adventures is one of the most popular rental and tour agencies in Sedona. They offer tours across Sedona and even wine tastings.
- Sedona Red Rock Music Festival
- Moonlight Madness Street Festival
Related Read: 15 BEST Lazy Rivers in Arizona
September: Try Local Wines at Sedona Winefest
On the topic of wine, Sedona's vineyards produce some of the premier grapes in the American wine-growing scene. Sedona Winefest is an excellent way to get a taste of some of the locally produced wines in the region.
The two-day Festival features Arizona wineries, artisan vendors, and live entertainment for festival-goers each day. It also highlights the cuisine of the region and introduces wine pairings.
Some of the events to look forward to include a wine-tasting class, wine tastings, an artisan marketplace, and, of course, plenty of wine for purchase. Learn all about the Arizona wine-making culture while here.
- Vortifest Musci Festival and Expereince
- Historical Red Rock Loop Roundup
October: Drink From a Stein at Red Rocks Oktoberfest
Prefer beer to wine? Visit Sedona in October for the Red Rocks Oktoberfest. Much like the sister festival in Munich, Germany, expect lederhosen, dirndl, and beer steins galore.
The daylong event welcomes beer lovers from across the country to experience Oktoberfest without leaving Arizona. Expect both domestic and international brews on tap.
- Airport Family Fun Day
- Arts Festival
- Annual Rock, Gem, and Jewelry Show
November: Support the Arts at Red Rocks Music Festival
The Red Rocks Music Festival spans from September to December, with the heaviest concentration of performers in November. November starts Sedona's off-season, so the music festival aims to keep tourists in Sedona.
The multi-month music festival welcomes performers of all genres. Check out classical music, pop artists, alternative bands, and even some local singer-songwriters. It is a great way to support the arts in Arizona and get a taste of Sedona's musical culture.
- Illuminate Film Festival
- Sedona Annual Turkey Trot
December: Partake in the Magical Christmas Journey
Sedona over the December holidays is magical. The Magical Christmas Journey operated through the Verde Canyon Railroad helps make the holiday season in Sedona particular.
The railroad deposits visitors in a Sedona holiday market filled with gifts, libations, and holiday treats. This is also an excellent children's attraction due to the bird's eye village. It is a miniature town filled with holiday magic.
- Sedona's Tree Lighting
- Breakfast with Santa
What is the Best Time to Visit Sedona With Family?
The best time to visit Sedona with families is in the Spring. The weather is glorious, and there are a handful of events that the entire family may love, from Yoga Fest to Photofest.
There are plenty of things to do all Spring in Sedona with kids. Hiking is one of the top activities. Red Rock State Park is the best place to do this with kids due to the gentle paths.
Sedona's Pink Jeep tours are also popular with families. Sometimes, kids don't want to walk the trails. The Pink Jeeps are a fun way to see the park and learn some of the area's history without a strenuous walk through the desert.
Another cheap, family-friendly activity is driving the Red Rock Scenic Byway. This stretch of road traverses through the desert with some gorgeous rock formations grazing the side of the road. The best views can be found between exits 179 and 89A. Pull off the road and get some memorable family photos.
Related Read: 25 BEST Things to Do in Sedona, AZ with Kids
What is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds in Sedona?
The best time to avoid crowds in Sedona is the winter months, from December through February. The cold climate keeps tourism at bay, but that doesn't mean you won't find anything to do.
Sedona tries to hike up tourism in the Winter through lower lodging costs and other deals. If you can bear the cold, you may fall in love with Winter in Sedona. The hikes may be brisk but deserted trails may offer some more peace than the crowded summer months.