What to Pack For a Trip to Sedona, According to an Arizona Native

PS Photography | Kyley Warren
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In "Pack With Me," influencers and editors give us a rundown of their travel must-haves and a few travel hacks to go along with them. For this installment, PS shopping editor Kyley Warren shares what essentials are necessary for a trip to Sedona, Arizona.

There's something magical about Sedona, Arizona β€” don't take my word for it, just ask the millions of travelers who flock to the city each year, hoping to immerse themselves in the town's one-of-a-kind aura. Kendall Jenner famously roadtripped through Sedona during the pandemic (alongside then beau Devin Booker), Reese Witherspoon ventured out on the most photogenic girl's trip through the city back in 2018, and in an interview with PS, Lauren London revealed that she recently visited (and loved) the peaceful destination.

I'm an Arizona native who grew up right outside of Red Rock Country, so I'm all too familiar with what makes this region of the southwest so special. From its towering red rock buttes and unique cultural identity to the wide array of resorts, restaurants, and hiking trails that are perfect for all types of adventurers, there's truly no place like Sedona.

Whether you're going on a meditation retreat, visiting a five-star resort, or are simply hoping to get an authentic taste of the desert, I've curated a Sedona travel guide that'll help you plan your next trip with ease. Keep reading for my advice on what to pack for Sedona, plus my best Sedona travel tips.

Best Packing Tips For Sedona

Your Sedona packing list will vary depending on when you plan to visit the city, but there are a couple staple items you should have handy in any season. Hiking is a huge draw of the town, with trails like Devil's Bridge, Bell Rock Climb, and Cathedral Rock being some of the most popular. Many of these hikes require you to scale actual red rock, which is known for being incredibly slick, especially following a rainstorm. With that, you'll want to make sure you have a pair of hiking boots with ample grip support, that way you'll be able to hike any trail without fear of slipping.

Like most of Arizona, Sedona is known to have a lot of sunny days. Whether you're setting out on an afternoon trek through the red rock or lounging by your resort's pool, sunscreen is essential.

Despite the city's reputation for being a haven for hikers and nature-lovers, Sedona is also home to some of the state's most luxurious hotels and spas β€” like L'Auberge de Sedona or Enchantment Resort β€” as well as five-star restaurants like Mariposa Latin-Inspired Grill and Elote Cafe. Make sure to squeeze a few nicer outfits into your suitcase to visit any of these hotspots, as they have more formal dress codes.

PS Photography | Kyley Warren

Best Travel Tips For Sedona

Sedona is one of Arizona's most touristed cities and arguably one of the most popular in the entire southwest β€” which means that regardless of the season, it's bound to be busy. The red rock town is a hot spot during the spring and summer thanks to its wonderfully sunny and warm (but still cooler than Phoenix) weather, and during the fall, locals and tourists alike flock to the city for a glimpse of Sedona's autumnal color palette.

Because of its year-round popularity, I recommend booking tickets for any excursions you might want to try well in advance of your trip. If you have your sights set on one of the famous Pink Jeep Tours or a guided hike through Sedona's spiritual vortexes, coordinate reservations before your travels so you won't run the risk of missing out on these beloved adventures.

And while renting a car isn't necessary for exploring Sedona, it will help you break up your trip and get outside of the city if you'd like to see more of Arizona. Phoenix is a two-hour drive from Sedona; Flagstaff (a beloved mountain town) is about 47 minutes north of Sedona by car; and the Grand Canyon South Rim is a little over two hours away from Sedona. Each of these stunning southwest locations double as great day trips that are all easily accessible from Red Rock Country.

A Beauty Accessory
amazon.com

A Beauty Accessory

Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties ($6, originally $9)

The temperatures in Sedona are always fluctuating β€” you could be sweating one minute and chilly the next. To ensure you're prepared for whatever weather you may encounter, I recommend having a couple hair ties handy. The city's vibe is very casual, so there's no shame in wearing your hair in a ponytail or bun most days.

A Bug Spray
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A Bug Spray

OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Aerosol Bug Spray ($10, originally $11)

As with most regions of northern Arizona, bugs are abundant β€” especially during the warmer months and in more humid areas around Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon. I recommend keeping a bug spray handy at all times to fend off pesky mosquitoes and flies, especially if you plan to do any hikes.

A Nourishing Lotion
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A Nourishing Lotion

Nivea Soft Body Cream ($13)

If you plan to visit Arizona during the summer, expect to see the city at its hottest. Temperatures are known to get up to 100 degrees in July, and since Arizona is touted as having dry heat, the air won't contain the same moisture you might experience in California or throughout numerous states on the East Coast. To combat dry skin, I love having a Nivea lotion tucked into my purse or personal carry-on bag.

An Arizona Guidebook
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An Arizona Guidebook

"The Nature of Arizona: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals & Outstanding Natural Attractions" Book ($17)

Arizona is home to a unique assortment of wild animals and plant species, many of which are native to the desert and less familiar to visiting travelers. From bobcats and scorpions to bears and coyotes, there's no telling what animals and insects you might encounter on a hike, especially throughout the northern Arizona regions. To familiarize yourself with the wildlife (and improve your awareness while hiking through the woods), consider investing in a guide book like this top-rated option from Amazon.

A Practical Bag
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A Practical Bag

Telena Belt Bag ($22)

Sedona is the perfect place to embrace a sportier vibe and don accessories like this functional belt bag. I love this style because it's compact enough to wear on a hike or on a walk to get brunch, but it still boasts enough interior space to hold all of my essentials β€” like a wallet, chapstick, portable charger, and hand lotion.

A Sports Camera
amazon.com

A Sports Camera

Polaroid Sport Action Camera ($27, originally $40)

Whether you're meditating on top of a red rock, cooling off in Oak Creek Canyon, or window shopping in Tlaquepaque Village, you'll want to document every last memory from your Sedona trip. This sports camera is a great failsafe option for doing it. The device is compact, waterproof, and designed for all types of adventures.

A Reusable Water Bottle
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A Reusable Water Bottle

Owala FreeSip Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($28)

For days spent hiking under the Arizona sun or lounging by your resort's pool, make sure to keep a durable water bottle handy. Hydration is key for enjoying any sort of trip to Sedona, especially if you plan to do more high-movement activities.

Hiking Sandals
nordstromrack.com

Hiking Sandals

Teva Original Universal Sandal ($30, originally $55)

More important than having a protective pair of hiking boots? Packing a durable pair of hiking sandals. Sedona hotspots like Slide Rock State Park and Oak Creek Canyon are great destinations for swimming, plus they also offer gorgeous hiking trails and views of the surrounding red rock. With these hiking sandals, you'll be able to safely trek through water and rocky terrain without fear of slipping.

A Protective Face Sunscreen
amazon.com

A Protective Face Sunscreen

EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen ($41, originally $43)

I'd argue that sunscreen is a must-have essential for any destination, but for Sedona, it's even more important. The city is so uniquely beautiful, you'll want to spend all of your time outdoors β€” swimming, hiking, lounging, and shopping through the town's many boutiques. To prevent sunburns from ruining your trip, make sure to apply this solution daily.

An Evening Dress
asos.com

An Evening Dress

Asos Design Curve Linen High Neck Midi Dress ($70)

Many Sedona establishments β€” namely five-star restaurants and top-rated resorts β€” have formal dress codes. If you'd like to have a dressier night or two while on your Sedona vacation and treat yourself to a high-end dinner, I recommend packing a dress that you can comfortably wear for any environment. Pro tip: khaki photographs beautifully against red rock.

Hiking Shoes
PS Photography | Kyley Warren

Hiking Shoes

Columbia Facet 75 Mid OutDry Shoe ($105, originally $140)

Hiking shoes feel synonymous with Sedona β€” and for good reason. No trip to Red Rock Country is complete without at least one hiking adventure, whether you're walking to one of the city's many famous vortexes or scaling actual red rock. These hiking shoes are my favorite because they boast the same durability as a hiking boot, but within a sneaker-like design that's much more lightweight.

A Stylish Swimsuit
nordstrom.com

A Stylish Swimsuit

Sea Dive Deep V-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit ($148)

The secret to maximizing on any Sedona trip is finding ways to stay cool β€” whether you're looking for an escape from the summer temperatures or want to take a dip in the pool post-hike. I love wearing this bathing suit underneath my normal hiking gear, that way if I stumble upon a creek or venture out to Slide Rock, I'm prepared to take a swim at any point.

A Cozy Jacket
aloyoga.com

A Cozy Jacket

Alo Yoga Sherpa Edge Shacket ($218)

Even during the summer months, Sedona can cool off quite a bit in the evenings, and temperatures often drop into the low 70s β€” meaning you'll want to pack at least one heavier layer or two. I love this cozy sherpa jacket from Alo because it goes with any outfit and is easy to layer on top of activewear pieces β€” like a workout bodysuit or sports bra.


Kyley Warren is an award-winning writer, editor, and affiliate strategist with more than four years of experience in the publishing space. She currently works as an assistant editor on PS Shopping and is an expert on all things related to shopping and fashion. She previously worked with Entertainment Tonight as a style commerce writer, and her byline has appeared in publications globally.