Sunset at Bell Rock in Sedona

Las Vegas to Sedona Road Trip: 10 Fun Stops to Make

Need ideas for planning a road trip from Las Vegas to Sedona? I can help! I’ve traveled all over the southwest, solo, and with my daughter that lives in Nevada. Driving to Sedona from Las Vegas is one of my favorite routes. First of all, Las Vegas is a perfect starting point for road trips because it surrounded by public lands and other incredible places in southern Nevada.

And Sedona is one of those places. Not only is Sedona one of the most stunning, and I don’t use that word lightly, destinations I’ve ever visited but it’s conveniently located less than 5 hours from Las Vegas. You can easily do that drive in a day but what’s the fun in that? After all, it’s the unexpected stops along the way that make a road trip worthwhile. Let’s go!

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Las Vegas to Sedona

Whether you’re spending a few day in Las Vegas enjoying the Strip first or you come straight into town to take advantage of the prime location for exploring national parks and state parks, this Las Vegas to Sedona road trip stands out as one of the best drives in the southwest.

Flying into Vegas, you’ll obviously need a car to drive to Sedona. With no hidden fees and 24/7 customer service, allows you to compare prices of different rental agencies. And if you need to crash for the night, Fairfield Inn right by Harry Reid International Airport is a good spot that will get you on your way after a good night’s sleep.

When you map the route to Sedona from Vegas, there are several options but the one I’m highlighting here is a good mix of smaller four-lane highways and interstates until you exit I-17 south of Flagstaff onto Highway 89A. If you only have one day, this drive is ideal to see a few attractions on the way but still arrive to Sedona without feeling overly tired from being in the car.

Driving straight through, it’s approximately 279 miles and should take about four and a half hours, without stopping. There are literally dozens of awesome things to do along this route, but for practicality, in this itinerary, I’m assuming you want to get to Sedona asap. So, this guide is designed ideally for a day, with other suggestions to extend it throughout.

If you already know you’d like to turn this drive into a two or three day long road trip, then I suggest adding Grand Canyon National Park for a second day. For a third day, consider adding Sunset Crater National Monument and Walnut Canyon National Monument to your itinerary. Both are located near Flagstaff.

Additionally, some of this route follows iconic Route 66, with its museums and quirky attractions. You can always plan on adding in more of those, to extend your time. The nice thing about this route is that it could also be driven in reverse, or from Sedona to Las Vegas. You can even drive it as a loop returning to Vegas via smaller secondary roads or end in Phoenix to fly home from there.

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Hoover Dam

Distance from Las Vegas 37 miles

Once you leave Las Vegas, the first stop on your Las Vegas to Sedona road trip should be the impressive Hoover Dam. If you’ve never seen the dam properly, now’s your chance. And a morning tour would still put you in Sedona by early evening before it gets dark.

Constructed in the early 1930’s during the Great Depression, Hoover Dam is one of the most amazing engineering feats of our time and was built to harness the power of the Colorado River to prevent downstream flooding and bring water to growing desert cities.

The Bureau of Reclamation (the agency that oversees Hoover Dam) offers 3 tours at the dam. If you decide to do it, I highly recommend the one that includes the turbine room with access to the visitor center and old exhibit room.

Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Bridge

If you just don’t have the time to visit to the dam, then at least walk across the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Bridge. This bridge is the main route across the Colorado river at the Hoover Dam. When it was constructed, a pedestrian walkway alongside was added so not only do you get the best views of the dam but you also get bird’s eye of the river below the dam and Lake Mead.

Parking is free and it’s an easy, assessible walk to about halfway across where you get a good, central view of the dam. I’m listing it separately but I also suggest a stop in Boulder City to learn a bit more about the dam construction at the Boulder City Hoover Dam Museum. This museum is one of my all time favorites. While you’re in town, don’t miss breakfast or lunch at the Coffee Cup Cafe or a burger at The Dillinger.

Colorado River Overlook

Distance from Las Vegas 51 miles

Back on the highway, just south of Hoover Dam and still within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the next stop to make is listed on Google Maps as Scenic View Rest Area (see the Google map for more details). It’s one of the only places along Highway 93 where you get this kind of view of the mighty Colorado.

The turnoff is located on the northbound side of the highway so heading towards Sedona, you’ll have to make a U-turn to access it. At the right time of day, ( morning up until about 2 pm) you’ll be rewarded with pretty awesome views of the river and the Willow Beach section of the park.

The Colorado River near Willow Beach Marina in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Kingman, Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas 107 miles

Next up on the route is Kingman. Once a highlight along Route 66, Kingman is still one of the most fun stops from Las Vegas to Sedona. Founded in 1882 and named after Lewis Kingman, a civil engineer for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, who helped establish the town as a main transportation hub in the southwest.

The town’s history can be seen in a walkable downtown featuring plenty of shops, restaurants and murals celebrating the town’s past. There’s even a Route 66 Museum that showcases the iconic highway and significance of the “Mother Road”. And no road trip to Kingman is complete without a photo at the official Route 66 sign.

For those not that into Route 66, Kingman offer alternatives activities like the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. Or stroll through downtown and grab a quick bite BBQ at Floyd & Co Real Pit BBQ or The Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery.

Route 66 marke that you can drive through in Kingman, AZ

Seligman, Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas 180 miles

Seligman is yet another unique Route 66 town along this Las Vegas to Sedona route. Situated just about 10 minutes from I-40, you’ll need to exit and drive the short distance to town but it’s worth it and in those few minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back 70 years in time.

Full of kitschy gift shops, vintage eateries and drive-in type places, Seligman is a throwback to yesteryear and honestly, kind of a junkpile, but true Route 66 aficionados, and those that enjoy old cars and Americana, will want to include this one-of-a-kind stop.

Williams, Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas 220 miles

Williams is a small, historic railroad town also along Route 66. However, it’s much different than Seligman. Think more wild west and frontier town than kitsch.

Many people opt to stay in Williams when visiting Grand Canyon National Park because it’s only 55 miles to Tusayan and the south entrance of the park. Plus, it easy to visit other other surrounding attractions like Bearizona Wildlife Park and the Grand Canyon Deer Farm.

It would also be a good addon for a longer Las Vegas to Sedona road trip because it gives you the chance to ditch your car and catch the Grand Canyon Railway to the park. And why not? After driving around the desert, take a break and let someone else show you around.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas 253 miles

Surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America, Flagstaff is one of those unique places where you could easily spend a month and still find things to do.

Located conveniently on I-40 and Route 66, It’s the perfect pitstop from Las Vegas to Sedona or the ideal base for exploring more of Arizona. Both Grand Canyon Village and the Desert Watch entrance are less than a two hour drive.

In the middle of the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests, Flagstaff has an elevation of 7000 feet and isn’t really what you expect when you imagine Arizona and the desert. Here you’ll get a chance to smell the trees and enjoy some cooler temps.

While it’s a good stop from Las Vegas to Sedona, I feel like Flagstaff is really a destination on its on, a place to spend a few days but if you are just passing through and want to spend a bit of town outside, plan on visiting Sunset Crater National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument and Wupatki National Monument that I mentioned previously.

Don’t miss a chance to get a glimpse of the San Francisco Peaks, including Humphrey’s Peak, the highest mountain in Arizona. Weather permitting, there’s a scenic loop if you have time. In town. Flagstaff boasts quite the cafe and coffee culture and Little America Hotel is a destination in itself or a good place to stay if you are breaking up your road trip into two days.

The black cinder cone at Sunset Crater National Monument
The cinder cone at Sunset Crater National Monument

Oak Creek Vista

Distance from Las Vegas 263 miles

Just 17 minutes south of Flagstaff, you’ll come to one of the prettiest views of this entire drive. Oak Creek Vista is your first glimpse of Oak Creek Canyon, a 12 mile long canyon carved from shifting tectonic plates and time. If you haven’t already, you’re sure to fall in love with the trees in the Coconino National Forest.

The overlook is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and offers a small visitor center onsite. Paved and unpaved walking trails crisscross through the trees providing the ideal place to take a break from the ride or have a picnic at the tables on the premises.

In addition to the sweeping views of the canyon, the overlook offers a Native American Artisan Market with handmade arts and crafts, including turquoise jewelry, ornaments, southwestern pottery and sculptures. Weather permitting, the market is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the winter months. Go for the views and leave with a souvenir.

Pondarosa pine in Oak Creek Canyon at the Oak Creek Overlook, one of the best stops from Las Vegas to Sedona

Halfway Picnic Area

Distance from Las Vegas 271 miles

The closer you get to your destination, the landscape changes from forest to the red sandstone cliffs that Sedona is so famous for. The opportunities for stopping along the highway are more frequent and there’s no shortage of wayside viewpoints and even short hiking trails right off the highway.

One of my favorite stops on the way from Las Vegas to Sedona is Halfway Picnic Area. This parking area offers tables where you can enjoy a creek side lunch or snack while listening to the sounds of Oak Creek. There are even a couple of places where you can access the water.

Slide Rock State Park

Distance from Las Vegas 272 miles

Oak Creek continues its journey south alongside the Highway 89A almost the entire way to Sedona. Its twists and turns forming a variety of swimming holes and places to cool off. Slide Rock State Park is the prefect spot to access the water and indulge.

What once was a privately owned apple orchard is now Slide Rock State Park public land, managed by the Forest Service, featuring sandstone bluffs and cool pools of water. In fact, you can still visit the orchard. Also, don’t miss the visitor center highlighting the the park’s history.

Note that the park closes at 6pm in summer so if this is something you want to do on your Las Vegas to Sedona road trip, you’ll need to get there early. Also, this park is quite popular so it tends to fill up fast and get busy on weekends and holidays.

Swimming hole in Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, AZ
Slide Rock State Park Courtesy of Erika’s Travels

Sedona, Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas 279 miles

Famous for its red rocks and magical landscapes, it’s no wonder Sedona is one of the best places to visit in the United States. It’s the perfect escape for a relaxing weekend or a week long stay of hiking and discovering more of Arizona.

Sedona provides a huge variety of activities. For those looking for adventure, there’s hiking, fishing and bird watching. For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, the city offers plenty of local art, amazing restaurants, and tranquil spas for unwinding.

Another added bonus are the tour companies in town, so after all that driving, you can sit back and let someone drive you around for a change. A few of the top tours in the area include vortex tours, wine tastings and even helicopter tours.

Find Hotels in Sedona

Las Vegas to Sedona Tips

Click the arrows below to expand for even more suggestions and tips for your Las Vegas to Sedona road trip.

There’s really no bad time to visit Las Vegas or Sedona but for road travels, spring or fall would be the best. Summer is fine too, just expect hot temperatures but the advantage is less crowds. In the winter months, you run the risk of icy road and even some snow. Sedona’s elevation is 4400 feet, so it’s not uncommon.

Sedona is divided into several distinct areas. Where you decide overnight will likely depend on your personal preferences, which area of Sedona appeals the most to you and your budget.

Uptown Sedona is home to the biggest majority of restaurants and shopping. The Sedona Heritage Museum and the Sedona Arts Center are both in this lively, more touristy area of Sedona.

This part of town is ideal for parking the car and walking. For a high end stay, Amara Resort & Spa can’t be beat. For a more affordable, but still fantastic option, check into, The Star Motel.

West Sedona, obviously west of Uptown, offers more a more commercial area with plenty of nearby hiking trails. For lodging, Sky Rock Sedona, Sedona Springs Resorts or Sky Ranch Lodge Resort are all good picks. And the latter offers terrific views just a stone’s throw from Airport Mesa.

South of town, in the Village of Oak Creek, Element Sedona, with spacious rooms and kitchenettes, or the Desert Quail Inn, provides everything you need for a quiet stay close to Bell Rock and popular Sedona hiking and activities.

Also, situated in the ultimate location for exploring Sedona and much of the surrounding area Tiny Camp Sedona, a collection of serene glamping experiences, features majestic views, hot tubs and starry skies.

In Uptown Sedona, Cowboy Club is the perfect introduction to this magical city. Since 1993, they’ve been grilling up savory steaks and other classic dishes.

  • Having a guidebook about Sedona can help you prepare for your road trip. Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona Guide provides expert advice from a local with tips and tricks about visiting Sedona.
  • A Sedona area map that includes details about the surrounding national forests and hiking trails in Sedona will also come in handy.

Las Vegas to Sedona Final Thoughts

Taking a road trip from Las Vegas to Sedona is not only one of the easiest but fun road trip suitable for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Also, the moderate distance of this route makes it perfect for road trip newbies.

There’s so much to do, you could easily drive this route again and again and never get bored. So, the next time you’re looking for something to add on to a Vegas vacation, consider Sedona.

See you on the road!

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