Expert Advice

Arizona Beyond The Grand Canyon: Sedona Edition

See what the Sonoran desert has to offer

Deanna and Mike O
Two Hilton Grand Vacations Owners in Sedona, Arizona

Welcome to our Arizona adventure. In total, we enjoyed 15 days of sunny, fun-filled adventures in Scottsdale, Arizona, and an unforgettable six-day break in Sedona, Arizona, sandwiched in between.

Pool at Ranch Manana, a Hilton Vacation Club in Arizona 

We connected with a couple of Hilton Grand Vacations Members through a Facebook group who happen to reside in Cave Creek. Since Cave Creek was conveniently on our route — only about a 30-minute drive from Scottsdale — we thought it would be fun to meet up with them before continuing to Sedona.

Before meeting for dinner, we decided to check out Rancho Mañana, a Hilton Vacation Club in Cave Creek. The nearby Rancho Mañana Golf Club provides the opportunity and convenience to play a scenic round of golf and eat at a highly-rated restaurant, Tonto Bar & Grill. The resort boasts 2-Bedroom Suites decorated in a Western style that complements the area. From there, we met up with the other Members at Raven’s View. The restaurant offers nice views, good food and a decent wine list.

We then headed to Sedona, a two-hour drive from Cave Creek. We were in awe of the red rock formations. If you’ve never seen them, the view itself is worth a trip. Majestic seems too tame for these beauties.

Balcony of a Suite at Sedona Summit, a Hilton Vacation Club 

Nestled amid the enchanting red rock formations, Sedona Summit, a Hilton Vacation Club offers a serene retreat away from downtown. As we checked in, the friendly front desk staff greeted us, and we went on to the concierge desk to learn about tours, activities and excursions. There were so many: Pink Jeep Tours, the Grand Canyon, golf, wineries, hiking, ATV tours, mountain biking trails — the list goes on.

The spacious accommodations provide modern amenities and breathtaking views. We were pleasantly surprised by the panoramic view from our large balcony. The 2-Bedroom Suite was also large, updated and well-appointed. The Wi-Fi worked great, thanks to a recent upgrade. There were four pools and six hot tubs to choose from, including an infinity hot tub looking out to the mountains.

Two Hilton Grand Vacations Members at Antelope Canyon 

From all the tours offered, we chose a day trip — and I mean all day, 12 hours total — to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. We booked a complete tour through the concierge desk instead of driving ourselves. Horseshoe Bend was a great stop for scenic photos, but the main highlight was undoubtedly Antelope Canyon.

The colors reflecting through the canyon were so vibrant and lively. Antelope Canyon requires you to take a long trail into and out of the canyon. Once down there, you’ll be happy you made the effort.

Other stops on the tour included the historic Cameron Trading Post — where you can purchase souvenirs from the Navajo and Hopi locals — and the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell. The bus ride offered some lovely views, and the driver was knowledgeable about all the sites along the way. We highly recommend this excursion. You can go to Antelope Canyon without booking a tour, but a Navajo guide must accompany you.

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona 

Other activities that we enjoyed in the Sedona area were going up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, wine tasting, hiking and just driving around this beautiful landscape.

There was a scenic overlook up by the airport 7,000 feet above sea level that you can’t miss. We ate at Mesa Grill at Sedona Airport and stayed to admire the views. Some other eateries we loved were Butterfly Burger and Mooney’s Irish Pub & Burger Bar, which also had lovely views.

We also recommend stopping at the Sedona Community Farmers Market and any pop-up markets to discover some real treasures. We came across Native American vendors in an inconspicuous spot, which turned out to be a great find.

Sedona is also a golfer’s dream destination, boasting a plethora of courses. Our favorite was the Sedona Golf Course, adjacent to the Ridge of Sedona, a Hilton Vacation Club. The tenth hole on this course is the most photographed in the Southwest region — if you go, you’ll understand why.

Two Hilton Grand Vacations Members in Sedona, Arizona 

On our way back to Scottsdale, we drove through the ghost town of Jerome. Jerome was once a thriving mining town, but after the mining dried up, the remaining residents began to promote it as a ghost town.

We enjoyed the local museum and Jerome State Historic Park’s beautiful vistas. Right next to the park, you can stop at Audrey Shaft Headframe Park and peer down a 1,900-foot shaft while standing on glass. The shaft is 650 feet taller than the highest point of the Empire State Building. The town’s rich history and charming historic buildings made this a fascinating detour.

Whether exploring the natural wonders, embarking on adventurous activities or indulging in culinary delights, Arizona has something for everyone. We hope our experiences inspire you to venture beyond the Grand Canyon and discover the many treasures that await you in Arizona.

Read “Arizona Beyond The Grand Canyon: Scottsdale Edition” for our Scottsdale itinerary, including reviews of the local Hilton Grand Vacations properties.

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Hilton Grand Vacations Owners Mike and Deanna pose at the beach

Deanna and Mike O

Mike and Deanna are Centum+ Owners who’ve owned with Hilton Grand Vacations since 2019. Their favorite vacation destinations include Barbados, Orlando, Arizona and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. They enjoy golfing, seeing historical sites and attending HGV Ultimate Access events like the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. So far, they’ve visited 26 properties — with plans to visit more thanks to HGV Max.

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