Sedona with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

Sedona with Teens: A Family Vacation


When my niece came out to Tucson for a visit last year, she was 13 and didn't want to do the usual "kiddie" stuff. She didn't want to go to the Desert Museum, and certainly not the zoo. We had already exhausted the malls, and I was beginning to run out of ideas. Luckily, she also liked to go hiking and take pictures, so Sedona turned out to be the perfect place to take her. Follow my advice, and you'll have plenty of great ideas for your next family vacation in Sedona with teens!


My niece didn't want to go camping like my husband and I usually do, so instead, we rented a cabin off of Oak Creek Canyon. We started the day by eating at the Coffee Pot Restaurant (2050 W State Route 89A, 928-282-6626). This is a local favorite, and on some days, there can be a bit of a wait. However, the wait is worth it, as it's one of the best breakfast spots in Sedona. With teens in tow, you will dive right into the huge variety of specialty omelets available – there are 101 different possibilities, and they are all fabulous. If you're not a heavy eater, you can order a number of tasty sides (such as an egg and hash browns). The service is excellent, the surroundings are relaxing, and the prices are reasonable for all the food you get. They also have a gift shop where you can purchase items to commemorate your trip. Just get there early to beat the morning rush!

Hours: Daily 6AM-2PM

After eating breakfast, we headed off for a jeep tour, something my niece wanted to do, but my husband and I had yet to try. We tried Red Rock Jeep Tour (150 Arizona 179, 928-282-1851), which offers a variety of different tours you can take depending on your preference. We opted to do the scenic tour, which showcases all the beautiful scenery of the area's red rocks. If you're taking a family vacation in Sedona with teens, this is a great activity. The tour is educational, as your tour guide will give you lots of information about Sedona's rich history. My niece loved how bumpy the ride is, though my husband and I were a bit jittery afterward! Jeep tour tickets range anywhere from $45 to $105, with a 10% discount if you buy online. Book your tour in advance, as seats do fill up quickly. Tours begin at 7AM and run hourly until dusk.


Another excellent adventure for exploring Sedona with teens is a hike to the Palaktaki Heritage Site (Coconino National Forest, 1824 S. Thompson Street, 982-282-3854). On this particular trip, we decided to take my niece to see some of the Native American Sinagua cliff dwellings in the area. There are two trails at Palaktaki, and you'll need to wear a good pair of tennis shoes, as the trail that goes to the cliff dwellings requires steep climbing over rocks. This is entirely rewarded by the fascinating, ancient dwellings that are displayed before you. The hike to the pictographs is easier, and by the time you're done traversing the trails, you'll have completed a mile-long hike. You'll need a Red Rock Pass to park at the site. The pass is $5 and can be purchased at the site. Reservations are a good idea, because the trails can become overcrowded to the point that the park rangers will turn visitors away.

Hours: Daily 9:30AM-3PM

A helicopter tour from the Grand Canyon Tour Company (4343 North Rancho Drive, Suite 230, Las Vegas, NV, 800-222-6966) is a perfect activity for visiting Sedona with teens, though it can be costly. Prices range from about $80 to over $500 (for biplane tours). We did just a simple helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon Tour Company, which lasted about 15 minutes. The scenery is simply magnificent, and your teen will spend the entire time plastered to the window in awe. The sites of the Sedona tour included Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte and Snoopy Rock (yes, a rock formation that looks like Snoopy!). If you book a tour through their site, you'll need to include how many people will be in your tour, as well as the weight of everyone in your party. There is a maximum weight limit for safety concerns.


If your teen is up to it, round out your family vacation in Sedona by doing some camping on Oak Creek (Red Rock Ranger District, P.O. Box 300, 928-282-4119). This is a very popular camping site, and reservations are recommended to guarantee you a spot. It is absolutely gorgeous at Oak Creek, and there is nothing like being lulled to sleep by the sound of the rushing waters. Let your teen disengage from the Internet and cell phones for a while, and they will surely come away with a great appreciation for the outdoors. There are numerous exciting things to do in Sedona, so you can easily create a vacation day that will be a fond memory for the entire family.

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