If you like to relax, look up at the stars, and really align yourself with the universe, then chances are Sedona Arizona has crossed your mind. Sedona is a popular place to look up at the stars, and stargazing in Sedona is extremely popular as it is certified as dark skies community.
The name is everything that it implies, and you’ll find that the skyline is absolutely breathtaking at night. Plus, believe it or not, the red rocks and mountains really help the area standout from the rest.
Many tourists venture out to visit this region of Arizona, and this is for various reasons.
Sedona is a popular place to do some stargazing for reasons like:
- Places to stay, eat, and unwind
- Specialized tours to make sure you get the most out of your stargazing experience
- Popular locations with limited light pollution for great and clear viewing of the stars
- Sedona is also home to some really interesting activities to do during the daytime as well, so you don’t have to be completely nocturnal
So if you’ve ever wondered why stargazing in Sedona is popular, you’re definitely in the right place.
We’ll be showing you everything you need to know, and help you map out the perfect stargazing excursion.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this quick guide for the perfect Sedona stargazing experience.
What time of year should I try stargazing in Sedona?
If you’re going to be heading out to the beautiful area of Sedona, you’ll definitely want to know what time of year to make the trip. While the weather in Sedona might be pleasant all year, for stargazing you’ll want to plan it the right way for the best viewing results. So let’s dive right in, and take a look at the best time of the year for stargazing in Sedona.
In Sedona, there is something called monsoon season, and you’ll definitely want to avoid this at all costs due to terrible weather patterns. This time frame is between July and August, and can make it pretty difficult to see the stars. Monsoon season is definitely not something you want to be caught in, and you’ll face a whole lot more than just cloud cover.
Aside from Monsoon season, Sedona is a pretty great place to visit all throughout the year. Most months provide a great atmosphere, and if you hate the heat, you can always try venturing out in the winter months.
So what is the sweet spot?
If you’re determined to get the absolutely best experience while stargazing in Sedona, you’ll want to head out there in the fall or spring seasons. This is due to the fact that you won’t be cold at night, and won’t be sweating during the day.
What are some of the tour options?
While you might have some knowledge of the area, or read a few posts about the best locations, sometimes going on a tour might really impress you. Luckily, Sedona knows it’s a great place to do some stargazing, and you’ll find no shortage of popular tour options to help you get the most of your visit.
What do the tours look like in Sedona?
When it comes to stargazing in Sedona, you might find that some of the tours are extremely helpful. They tend to begin with groups of between 6-12 people, but don’t grow too large in size to keep it personal. Plus, if you’re a little short on equipment, most tours tend to include telescopes and other viewing equipment.
Which tour is the best?
The best tour that you can find in Sedona is one run by Sedona Stargazing. There tour includes great equipment, and will last about an hour and a half. You’ll come across plenty of viewing potential, and the price tends to hangout around $70 a sessions. Plus, believe it or not, these tours run every night of the week so you never have to feel left out.
Just try not to visit during monsoon season, and you’ll be good to go.
What locations should I seek out?
Sedona is a pretty big area, and you might find yourself overwhelmed. Even with the right tour, and the right equipment, you still might miss out on some of the best viewing opportunity if you’re not in the right spot. So before you set out on your stargazing adventure, let’s take a look at some of the top 3 locations to get the best experience. The beauty of these locations is that one is great for scenery, one is great for walking, and for the last one all you need is a car and some willpower.
This is a great location to bring yourself, or some additional equipment. Just make sure you understand that the area will be very dark, so give your eyes time to adjust. The location is located just off of highway 89A, and you should be able to find it with ease. This is definitely an area you should punch into Google maps.
You’ll find that many hiking trails might be too difficult to tackle at night, but Centennial trail is definitely an exception. The trail itself is only roughly a mile long, and with a flashlight you’ll never find yourself lost on this particular trail. It is also a popular daytime location, so you’ll never be disappointed both day and night.
Dry Creek Road
Dry Creek Road is a great place to take a drive with a portable telescope. You won’t need to stray too far from the car. This road leads far away from town, so make sure you bring a vehicle and a portable telescope or binoculars to really get the best of this experience.
What should I bring with me?
If you want to get the most of this experience, once your eyes adjust, be sure to bring a NexStar 4SE telescope with you to any of these locations. The portability of this telescope makes it great to bring with you for the drive, and you’ll have plenty of room to set it up outside. Plus, believe it or not, the NexStar 4SE comes packed with great magnification, and technology that allows you to really explore over 40,000 stars. The technology is all included, and the mapping technology makes it a must have for beginners.
Some of the technology you’ll find with the NexStar 4SE telescope is:
- Fully autonomous go mount
- A free download of the top astronomy software that includes in depth sky mapping capabilities
- A warranty and great customer support
- Excellent zoom capabilities with two separate lens options
- Skyalign technology for easy viewing
You can find this telescope on Amazon for a great price!
What about the best binocular option?
When it comes to stargazing in Sedona, chances are, you’ll be on the move. There is just so much to take in. So if you don’t want to lug a telescope around, or are new to stargazing, you’ll be pleased to know that the Orion 20×80 binoculars will do a great job showing you the stars.
The small design makes carrying these binoculars a non issue, and they really do a good job with their magnification. For only $120, you can really get the most out of any of these 3 locations.
The technology behind the Orion 20×80 binoculars is:
- A zoom of 20x for moon and star viewing
- 80 millimeter lens
- Rubber eye relief for extended use
- Built in tripod adapter if you do decide to setup in one location
- Dust caps
- Carrying case
You really can’t go wrong with these binoculars, but if you’re curious about others, we’ll be diving into more equipment further on.
What guide book should I bring?
If you’re going to be visiting any of these locations, you’ll definitely want to bring a guide with you. Stargazing in Sedona can be complicated, just because there is so much going on. The best guide you can bring with you is Collin’s Stargazing Guide. This guide comes packed with everything you need to get started on your stargazing journey, and is great for more than just beginners.
You’ll be exposed to seasonal star charts, what you can see from each hemisphere, and it’s published by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Therefore, you know it’s going to be credible.
The other guide book I would recommend is Nightwatch: A Practical Guide To Viewing the Universe. This is a great guide book written by Terence Dickinson with the amateur astronomer in mind. Be sure to check both these books out on Amazon.
Is there a specific stargazing map for stargazing in Sedona?
While there may not be a direct map for Sedona, Celestron Sky Maps is the next closest thing. This map includes plenty of constellation maps, a star finder, seasonal star charts, and everything else you might need for stargazing in Sedona.
What equipment should I bring for the best experience?
While looking up at the vast area of stars might seem like enough, and it is definitely a breathtaking experience on it’s own, you’ll find that the right equipment can make a huge difference. Luckily, you’ll read about all of the best options to bring with you. We’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg in the previous section, so get ready to find out what other options you have.
So please pay close attention, especially if you’re a stargazing enthusiast, because you’re about to learn about the best telescopes, binoculars, and guidebooks to bring with you.
We don’t want to keep you for too long, so we’ll be showing you 2 great telescopes and 2 great pairs of binoculars.
The Celestron 80mm travel telescope
You don’t want to find yourself stargazing in Sedona without a portable telescope. Any of these products will only make your experience all the better, so make sure you take a look at all of them.
As for the Celestron 80mm telescope, you’ll find that it comes packed with everything you need to get started.
- Portable telescope and full height tripod
- Stay night software is free to download with this purchase, which is huge
- A carrying bag
- In total, with everything, it weighs less than 5 pounds
- A two year warranty
- 80mm lens for fantastic viewing capabilities
- Two different lenses for different viewing capabilities
- Smartphone mount
The Orion StarBlast II
The StarBlast II is a great telescope for stargazing in Sedona, because it is lightweight, portable, and very easy to use on the go. Plus, the actual size of the telescope is not too big, so you’ll find that it’s super easy to setup as well.
Some features you’ll love about the StarBlast II are:
- EQ mount kid to make it easy to lineup certain fields of view
- 18x and 45x magnification
- Two different lenses
- Excellent light reflection abilities
- A moon map is also included
The Gosky Titan 20×80
If you’re for binoculars, look no further than the Gosky Titan. This pair of binoculars will get you plenty of zoom, comes with a tripod, and even includes a smartphone mount. This telescope is truly a Jack of all trades, and is pretty cost effective as well. Plus, believe it or not, binoculars could be a better option for stargazing in Sedona depending on where you are.
Some of the features you’ll find in the Gotsky 20×80 are:
- 20x magnification
- Rubber eye relief
- An 80 millimeter lens
- A smartphone mount
- A tripod
- A carrying case
Zhummell 20×80 Astrobinoculars
These binoculars are not only big, but they also pack a punch. These binoculars come packed with great magnification, a tripod, and everything else you need for stargazing in Sedona. It might not seem like binoculars can do the job as well as a telescope, but the Zhummell 20×80 will prove you wrong.
Some great features about the Zhummell are:
- 20x magnification
- A tripod mounting rail
- Plenty of accessories like a carrying case
- Rubber lining for comfort
- Multiple colored optics
Where to stay when stargazing in Sedona? How is the food?
The last thing you’ll need to do, before you get ready to take in the beauty of Sedona, is look for the right place to stay. Not only will this improve your experience, but it will also make Sedona feel like a great vacation choice.
You’ll want to make sure you choose a location that promotes stargazing, and has a great view. If that sounds hard to find, don’t worry, because we’ve made this very easy for you. So let’s take a look at the top resort you’ll want to stay at for stargazing in Sedona.
The Enchantment Resort is by far the best place to stay for a truly immersive stargazing experience. If you’re not looking to travel too much, you’ll find that the resort has a lot of the amenities you need to really do some stargazing in Sedona.
Let’s take a quick look at what The Enchantment Resort brings to the table:
- A package that includes 2 astronomers who arrive twice a week to help you really get into stargazing
- On site equipment and telescopes
- A beautiful location and great onsite food
- Everything is included for about $400 per night
- Viewing maps of the region are also included
What if I’m looking for a more thrifty trip?
If you don’t want to break the bank, but still want to enjoy stargazing in Sedona, you can go the AirBnb route. You would have to check out the listings before you head out, but you’ll find that there are plenty of great AirBnB options for you to choose from.
If AirBnb is not your thing and you don’t need a fancy resort, there are plenty of affordable hotels and motels for you to stay at in the area as well.
Now the best part…the food!
Sedona is also home to some really great food options. You’ll find that whatever you’re in the mood for, Sedona has you covered. Whether you want Italian or Spanish cuisines, there are plenty of great restaurants scattered across the region. So let’s take a look at some of the best choices for each type of cuisine.
Picazzo’s is a great Italian place to visit, and they provide customers with great pizza, heroes, and pasta. If you want Italian while you’re stargazing in Sedona, Picazzo’s is the place you’ll want to be.
Mariposa grill is a great choice for Spanish food, and has an excellent rating. You’ll find plenty of Latin based dishes that will really have you craving more. They’re located conveniently, and can be a great spot to take a break from all of that stargazing you’ll be doing.
A cafe or diner
If you’re looking for breakfast, or for a delicious burger, you’ll want to check out The Red Rock Cafe. This cafe has low prices, great food, and offers both breakfast and dinner. Plus, believe it or not, a lot of the locations we talked about are in rather close proximity.
What else can I do in Sedona?
Obviously you won’t be stargazing during the day, so you’ll want to make sure you enjoy yourself with other popular activities. If you’re worried you’ll have a boring time, don’t worry, because you’re about to find out that Sedona is the polar opposite of boring. So let’s take a look at some of the fun things you can try during the day.
Hot air balloon rides
Sedona has no shortage of sight seeing, and if you really want to get a fulfilling experience, a hot air balloon ride will knock your socks off. There are plenty of areas to choose from, and from way up high in the sky, you’ll be able to take in the true beauty that Sedona has to offer.
Sedona is home to many trails, and while you might enjoy them the most at night, you should consider making your stargazing trip an all day experience. Plenty of the trails mentioned above will show you how beautiful the red rock formations can be, and you’ll definitely discover that Sedona has much more to offer than just looking up. The beauty of Sedona is all around you, and going for a daytime hike will definitely shock you.
For all of you wine lovers out there, you’ll be pleased to learn that Sedona is also home to some of the best vineyards in the business. While it might not be your first choice for a wine tasting themed trip, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Some popular vineyards you’ll want to check out are:
- Page springs vineyard
- Javelina leap vineyard
- Burning tree cellars vineyard
You can also check out some of the popular breweries as well if you’re in the mood for an ice cold beer.
One of the great things about Arizona is that there is no shortage of watering holes. The sun can definitely get unbearable during the day, so cooling off in one of the popular watering holes might be a great choice. You can find them all around Sedona, but you’ll definitely want to check out Red Rock Crossing, because you’ll be immersed in truly beautiful scenery.
So while stargazing in Sedona might be the main focus, you’ll definitely find no shortage of great things to do during the day. Plus, believe it or not, Sedona also has great art and culture.
Stargazing in Sedona – Recap
You’ll find that Sedona is a great place to visit, and has much more to it than just stargazing. There are plenty of daytime activities to do, and no shortage of great food at the ready.
There is a reason why stargazing in Sedona is so popular, and we hope you’ve learned exactly why.
At the end of the day, tour guides and destinations will only get you so far. So before you set out on your next stargazing adventure, be sure to stock up on the right equipment.
Not only will this improve your experience, but you’ll really leave with a different outlook on the universe. Even to the naked eye, stargazing in Sedona can be absolutely breathtaking.
The next you plan your next adventure, no matter where you’ll be coming from, stargazing in Sedona should definitely be on your list.
Other Articles of Interest…
I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed this article that provides you with everything you need to know to make the most of your next stargazing adventure in Sedona. I’ve compiled a short-list of articles below that you may be interested in as well:
- What Causes the Northern Lights?
- Sun Gazing: How To Observe The Sun
- Moon Gazing: How To Observe The Moon
- 10 Tips For Buying Your First Telescope
- Best Telescopes Under $500
- Best Kids Telescope For Viewing Planets (Update 2019)
- Best Binoculars For Astronomy Under $500