Sedona has been called the most beautiful place in the United States. Hard to believe this high-altitude desert was once ocean floor. The unique sandstone emerged only after the Pedregosa Sea receded once and for all 265 million years ago. The setting sun seems to ignite the iron oxide in the rock formations to make fiery red sunsets that burn their way into your memory. It makes the Tuscan twilight seem like a pallid pauper by comparison. It is a place full of masterpieces but none hang in galleries and museums. They are all made by nature of rock carved by time and weather into fantastic shapes, like stone cathedrals, they feel inherently spiritual. It is a magical place of geologic jewels, Native American heritage sites and rock art dating back to the tenth century. Their spirit permeates the land. Sedona has become a kind of spiritual mecca for New Age seekers and UFO enthusiasts. The town of barely 15,000 permanent residents is swamped by three million visitors a year. Whether you seek inner peace, outer space, or icy margaritas to escape the punishing southern Arizona heat, Sedona will speak to you.
10. Sedona Heritage Museum
The charming little Heritage Museum is a good place to get your historical bearings. Of particular interest is the exhibit about the many Hollywood movies shot here dating back to 1923. The big studios and big time directors loved the compelling, quintessential American west backdrop. Many A-list stars worked in the area. Even Elvis shot a film here called Stay Away Joe, in which he played a Native American rodeo rider. Jimmy Stewart’s Broken Arrow, Joan Crawford’s Johnny Guitar and Robert De Niro’s Midnight Run are among the favorites. De Niro must have liked the town because he had a massive, controversial home built in Sedona. The Museum curators have also proudly restored a telegraph. Impress your friends with your ability to identify all the sites when you watch the movies back home.