Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Family Friendly Destination - Sedona, Arizona

With its intense natural beauty, peaceful, spiritual vibe, and world-renowned outdoor activities, Sedona is not always considered a destination for family friendly fun. While it is true that Sedona has plenty to offer adults, families visiting the area can choose from a plethora of attractions that will appeal to all ages.

Visitors are often drawn to the natural wonders found in the state parks in and around Sedona. Children in particular will love Slide Rock State Park, which is named after the natural water slide in Oak Creek Canyon. Due to the smooth creek bottom, visitors can cascade down the slide as a fun and refreshing escape on hot days. At the nearby Red Rock State Park, a 286-acre nature preserve, visitors of all ages can explore hiking trails and enjoy a firsthand educational experience about the fascinating wildlife and geology of the Sedona area. Arizona State Parks offer the Junior Ranger program, which allows kids between the ages of six and twelve to participate in interactive, educational activities.

Jeep tours provide another exciting way to tour the Sedona landscape. Bouncing along dirt trails in one of the famous jeeps offers the thrill of an amusement ride, but the true appeal of the experience is the breathtaking scenery and the ability to explore places that most passenger vehicles are unable to access. The drivers entertain passengers with informative commentary on the history and geology of the area, and tours may be customized to suit different ages. Visitors should tell the tour company whether they have children aged five and under when making the reservation, as most companies will be able to provide car seats in accordance with state law. For adventurers seeking a more hands-on experience, several businesses in the Sedona area offer horseback rides along beautiful trails that are sure to captivate kids and adults alike.

With Sedona’s annual calendar packed with special events, visitors at any time of year may enjoy festivals and other celebrations. Examples include the Hummingbird Festival the end of July, Fiesta de Tlaquepaque, and numerous music and family friendly festivals throughout the year. The travel website sedona.net sponsors an ongoing photo challenge that encourages visitors to share their beautiful photos of the area on Instagram. For families traveling with smart phone-hooked kids, this challenge offers an opportunity to channel their technology addiction into a creative adventure! Visit sedona.net to learn more.

Within relatively short driving distance of Sedona, visitors will discover numerous destinations that will appeal to every age and interest. From toddlers to senior citizens, everyone will be astounded by the striking beauty and enormity of the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater, a 550 foot-deep dimple in the earth where a meteorite crashed approximately 50,000 years ago, as well as the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. The latter two sites are part of the Petrified Forest National Park and consist of starkly beautiful badlands, uniquely colored formations, and plenty of petrified wood.

Perched on a hill overlooking the lush Verde Valley is the 19th-century mining town of Jerome. This tiny enclave has reinvented itself as a thriving artists’ community and popular tourist destination with a variety of charming shops, restaurants, wineries for grown-ups, and spooky ghost tours for brave visitors of all ages.

Nestled in the Verde Valley, Camp Verde is home to Montezuma Castle National Monument, one of the most well-preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Consisting of a five-story, twenty-room structure that was carved into a limestone cliff around the 14th century, this impressive monument is a testament to the ingenuity of the Sinagua Indian peoples who once inhabited it. For a more interactive experience in Camp Verde, visitors will love Out of Africa Wildlife Park, which features an authentic African safari experience, a zip line, shows, and more.

Departing from the town of Clarkdale, the Verde Canyon Railroad traverses the stunning Verde Canyon, with its towering rock formations, verdant river gorge, and diverse foliage. Passengers enjoy unparalleled vistas from the comfort a fully restored vintage train. A trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad may be combined with a visit to Blazin M’ Ranch in Cottonwood, which features an Old West-style frontier town, a chuck wagon dinner, entertainment, and more.

While adults will surely be mesmerized by the stunning spiritual mecca of Sedona, families with children of any age will also find plenty to entertain, educate, and amaze them. Rated a AAA Four Diamond Hotel and one of the top hotels in the Southwest according to readers of Condé Nast Traveler, El Portal Sedona Hotel is pleased to welcome all members of the family, including pets. El Portal is conveniently located steps from Tlaquepaque, which houses some of Sedona’s best shops and restaurants, and provides a comfortable base for exploring all that this magical area has to offer.

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