Best views in Sedona without hiking

Sedona, Arizona is one of the most gorgeous vacation destinations in the Southwest, if not the entire country. With brilliant million+ year old rocks dominating the landscape, 100’s of miles of colorful red rock trails, and several healing natural vortex sites (more on vortexes later on), Sedona really is the perfect vacation choice for anyone seeking a relaxing trip, accompanied by bountiful recreational activities in a one-of-a-kind natural setting.

Although exploring a few of the breathtaking hikes is most recommended (check out 12 of my favorite Sedona hikes), there are numerous ways to take in the majestic scenery without embarking on a difficult hike. For those of you seeking a bit more relaxation as opposed to a strenuous workout in the intense desert heat, here are 5 of the best non-hiking Sedona destinations for soaking in the fantastic red rock scenery. All these destinations require little to no effort on your part to enjoy the fabulous red rock landscapes!

The Chapel of the Holy Cross

Sedona's Chapel of the Holy Cross surrounded by red rock formations
Sedona’s Chapel of the Holy Cross is built in between 2 red rock formations. It’s quite a sight!

The Chapel of the Holy Cross truly is an architectural wonder like no other in the world- an absolute must-see for any Sedona newcomers. This unique Roman Catholic church was built in between 2 massive red rock formations in 1956. Due to the prime location, spectacular views can be enjoyed both inside and out. Although the chapel is not open for services, anyone can come in to meditate, pray, or light candles in honor of loved ones. As soon as you step inside, you will notice the beautiful stained glass windows and magnificent red rocks scenery. This truly is a chapel like no other in the world! Some of the most extraordinary views in all of Sedona surround the chapel – and best of all, no hike or fee is required!

Views of Cathedral Rock (and the massive house owned by the founder of Lasik Eye Surgery) from the Chapel

Location: 780 Chapel Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, Hours: 9-5 (10 on Sunday)

Airport Mesa

Incredible view from the Airport Mesa overlook in Sedona, Arizona

The Airport Mesa overlook is one of Sedona’s most popular destinations for photographers. It is also the go-to spot for taking in a breathtaking sunset over the red rocks. Viewing a dazzling red rock sunset is one of the most memorable things you can do on any Sedona vacation. Airport Mesa is considered to be one of Sedona’s sacred vortex sites (The Chapel of the Holy Cross mentioned above is another). A number of hikes (including Boynton Canyon) are also considered vortex sites.

A vortex is basically an area of concentrated energy that rises from the earth and supposedly balances energies (vortex sites can be male yang or female yin in nature) & provides healing powers to whomever comes across it. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the area each year to experience the supposed benefits of this special vortex energy.

Hiking Airport Mesa in Sedona, Arizona
One of the scariest and most scenic hikes in Sedona!

At Airport Mesa, you may just walk away with more than a simple photograph! If you are up for a bit of exercise, the Airport Mesa hike offers some of the most extraordinary 360 degree views in all of Sedona. At 3.5 miles round-trip and mostly flat, it is one of the easier options in town, although not recommended for scaredy cats due to several very steep drop offs – see above! Check it out if you are up for a longish, yet relaxing hike with unending views of the red rocks.

Location: 1185 Airport Rd Sedona, AZ 86336

Uptown Sedona

Uptown Sedona
Uptown Sedona – a lively area with boutique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and most importantly, amazing red rock views!

Just strolling around Sedona’s charming tourist hotspot for a half hour or so, you will be able to take in some pretty magnificent scenery without much effort at all. A quick walk along the history stroll will give you a bit of background history on the ancient rock formations, along with more picture-perfect photos than you could ever possibly imagine. Uptown is a nice little touristy area where you can kill an hour or 2 in between other activities.

Gorgeous red rock scenery in Uptown Sedona

Touristy shops selling Southwestern specialties, Southwestern themed restaurants, galleries featuring the work of local artists, refreshing smoothie and ice cream shops, and more can be found in Sedona’s most popular tourist stop. From here, you can also sign up for the uber popular Pink Jeep and trolley tours, although a hike is a less costly, not to mention a more memorable & rewarding experience. Be on the lookout for annual events such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade and Christmas tree lighting, as well as ongoing events such as the 1st Friday Art Walk.

Location: Intersection of Arizona 89A and 179

Red Rock Scenic Byway/Oak Creek Canyon Scenic drive

Beautiful red rock views along Oak Creek Canyon scenic drive in Sedona, AZ
One of many scenic overlooks along Oak Creek Canyon drive

Just driving around Sedona is a mesmerizing experience in and off itself. If you are unable to do a hike for any reason, a picturesque drive is your next best bet. There are 2 main drives to consider if you are looking to take in the best Sedona has to offer: Red Rock Scenic Byway and Oak Creek Canyon. Red Rock Scenic Byway (SR 179) will take you past several of Sedona’s most prominent red rock formations. Drive slow and enjoy a cruise through one of the country’s most unique landscapes. Don’t worry – numerous pullouts along the 7 mile route give you the opportunity to stretch, take some photos, or simply just lust after the views. Or, better yet, stop for a hike along the magnificent Little Horse trail.

Red Rock Scenic Byway in Sedona, Arizona
Beautiful views in every direction on the Red Rock Scenic Byway
Stunning red rocks along the Little Horse trail in Sedona
Great red rock views via the Little Horse trail

Oak Creek Canyon Drive

Another picturesque drive to add to your itinerary is Oak Creek Canyon (AZ 89a), a name given to the 14 miles of picturesque land located in between Flagstaff and Sedona. This drive is really unique and dramatic, as both the views (ranging from ponderosa pines, to flowing creeks, to towering red rock formations) and elevation (4000-7000ft) vary greatly along the route. Offering dramatic red rock vistas, quaint views of the perennial creek, and majestic views of the towering ponderoa pine forests, it really is the most stunning drive in the entire state.

Numerous activities along the way – scenic overlooks, hikes (check out the Cookstove & West Fork), Native American craft markets, restaurants (be sure to stop for breakfast at Indian Gardens!), secret swimming holes, Slide Rock State Park (an unusual park featuring natural waterslides carved from the red rocks) easily make this a half-full day activity!

Oak Creek Canyon overlook
Oak Creek Canyon Overlook – great views and lots of Native American craft vendors. A great break along this scenic drive!
Hiking amongst golden foliage along the West Fork trail in Sedona, Arizona
The West Fork trail along Oak Creek Canyon -a hotspot for leaf peeping. This easy, flat trail features a number of fun creek crossings. Check it out if you have the extra time!
The gorgeous patio at Indian Gardens
Oak Creek Canyon Scenic drive in Sedona, Arizona
Oak Creek Canyon is busy year-round due to the fabulous views. Plan your visit during the winter (outside of holidays) and fall (outside of peak color time) for fewer crowds!
Beautiful Oak Creek Canyon in the winter
Winter is a magical time in Oak Creek!

Here is a sneak peak of this beautiful drive. Note – this was taken early in the morning. Expect more traffic if your drive falls in the afternoon, on a weekend, or during a busy holiday period.

Various restaurants

Scenic outdoor dining at Che Ah Chi in Sedona AZ
Scenic outdoor dining at Che-Ah-Chi at the Enchantment Resort: the top choice in town for brunch with a view!

It’s no surprise that numerous restaurants have taken advantage of Sedona’s truly inspiring setting by building their dining space around the red rocks. Although some restaurants offer great food & others amazing views, just a handful really please by offering both quality food and tremendous views of the red rocks via awesome outdoor patios. Below are my picks for the best al fresco dining-with-a-view experiences in Red Rock Country!


Che-Ah-Chi is the premier restaurant at the beautiful Enchantment, Sedona’s most spectacular resort. The Enchantment is beautiful in every aspect, including its’ outstanding restaurants. Dining at Che-Ah-Chi is the best breakfast experience you will have in Sedona. As a local, I found myself coming back here time and time again for a relaxing weekend brunch date! With top notch food & service, along with to-die-for views via the floor-to-ceiling windows, you really can do no better. Or better yet, take a seat on the gorgeous outdoor patio to fully immerse yourself in this natural wonderland! Their pancakes are awesome!

Location: 525 Boynton Canyon Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336

Scenic outdoor dining at Che Ah Chi in Sedona AZ
Scenic outdoor dining at Che-Ah-Chi at the Enchantment Resort: the top choice in town for brunch with a view!

The Hudson

This newcomer to the Sedona restaurant scene is one fabulous local gem. A creative menu and extraordinary views both inside and out make it a prime pick anytime of the year. While the majority of the restaurants only offer views from the outside, The Hudson delivers with an award winning indoor dining area as well. Try the delicious Butternut Squash Ravioli for a real treat!

Location: 671 AZ-179 D, Sedona, AZ 86336

Beautiful scenery from The Hudson in Sedona AZ
The patio at The Hudson offers some of the most spectacular red rocks vistas in town!

Salt Rock Southwest Kitchen

For a wonderful meal and laid-back vacation vibe (whether or not you are staying at this attractive Kimpton resort), plan for lunch one day at SaltRock. Here, you will be treated to delicious creative cuisine and a beautiful outdoor patio which features excellent views of the red rocks. As a bonus, the Southwestern landscaping is gorgeous. The highlight of the menu at SaltRock is a 3 course lunch tasting menu, which includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert for just 25 bucks – by far, one of the best values in this super expensive tourist area! Love the egg salad!

Location: 100 Amara Ln #101, Sedona, AZ 86336

Great views dining at Saltrock Southwest Kitchen in Sedona AZ
The relaxed ambiance at Salt Rock, which includes fabulous red rock views and beautiful desert landscaping, makes it a perfect vacation choice!

Wildflower Bread

This decent knock off of Panera Bread (featuring a “Wildflower Two” similar to Panera’s popular “You Pick Two” deal) features a tasty menu of healthy salads, soups, and sandwiches. Wildflower is a great casual pick for anyone seeking a laid-back lunch without any fuss. Not as good as Panera in my opinion, although many Arizona locals prefer it! The real highlight of dining at Wildflower is enjoying the restaurant’s prime location in Uptown – right across from one of the most stunning red rock views in town. Take a seat on the outdoor patio (if weather permits) and enjoy a healthy meal accompanied by tremendous views! Do try the amazing seasonal Autumn Pumpkin soup if available!

Location: 101 N State Rte 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

Incredible views from Wildflower Bread in Sedona, Arizona
Soak in tremendous red rock scenery via the outdoor patio at Wildflower Bread!

Hideaway House

The Hideaway is one of the best picks for anyone looking to feast on some comfort foods – you are on vacation, right?! This casual Italian hotspot makes all their delicious goodies on-site, so you can rest assured that you are not eating anything frozen or canned. The Hideaway offers the best pizza and apps in town. Be sure to treat yourself to the homemade garlic cheese blossom! During the warmer months, you can enjoy a seat on the beautifully shady outdoor patio, which features a weirdly out of place, yet attractive tropical inspired design, and of course, wonderful views of the red rocks!

Location: 231 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86336

Great views from the Hideaway House in Sedona AZ
Hideaway House is another top choice for relaxing red rock views!