GETTING THERE: Sedona is 30 miles south of Flagstaff, Ariz., on Highway 89A and 117 miles north of Phoenix via I-17 and Highway 89A. America West offers connecting service from D.C. to Flagstaff from $370 round trip, and most major carriers fly to Phoenix for about $100 less.
WHEN TO GO: Temperatures can hit the high 90s in the summer. Spring and fall are more comfortable, with highs in the 60s and 70s. Temperatures drop 20 to 30 degrees at night.
WHERE TO STAY: Sedona's lodgings tend toward the luxurious and expensive; two good reasonably priced options are the Village Lodge (78 Bell Rock Blvd., 800-890-0521, www.sedonalodge.com) and the Baby Quail Inn (50 Willow Way, 928-282-2835, www.lolomai.com/lodge), both with rooms for under $100 for two people.
WHERE TO EAT: The Black Cow Cafe (229 N. Hwy. 89A, 928-203-9868) serves snacks, coffee and homemade ice cream daily. Lunch items cost $4.95 or less; ice cream, $2.95 to $3.95. The casual Heartline Cafe (1610 W. Hwy. 89A, 928-282-0785) has earned honors for its innovative American cuisine. Dinner entrees include smoked mozzarella ravioli, Thai-style vegetables, salmon and duck. Lunch dishes from $8; dinner prices range from $15 to $27.
WHAT TO DO: The Catholic Chapel of the Holy Cross (780 Chapel Rd., 928-282- 4069) is open to people of all faiths and is especially popular for the views at sunset. Seven miles north of town, Slide Rock State Park (6871 N. Hwy. 89A, 928-282-3034, www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/sliderock.html; $8-$10 per car or $2 per pedestrian/bike) is the most popular place to hop in the water in Oak Creek Canyon. Experience the "vortex" at Boynton Canyon (928-282-4119, www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/red_rock/boynton-tr.shtml; $5 per car), in the Coconino National Forest, or simply enjoy the buttes, red cliffs and desert gardens. For more hikes, both wet and dry, pick up a copy of Cosmic Ray's "50 Favorite Hikes Flagstaff & Sedona," available locally.
INFORMATION: Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce, 800-288-7336, www.visitsedona.com.
-- Julian Smith