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Sedona vs Prescott – Which One Should You Visit?

Both Sedona and Prescott are popular vacation spots located in Arizona. 

This post will look at the differences between them to help you decide where to visit on your next trip! It covers hotels, activities, atmosphere, nightlife and more!

Summary – Sedona vs Prescott

More touristyLess touristy
Stunning sceneryNice scenery
More expensiveLess expensive
Very commercial townMore authentic, historic town
Wider range of activitiesLess activities available
Red rock formationsNational forest & lakes
Little nightlifeLively nightlife

Top Picks For Sedona

Best Hotel In Sedona

Top Activities In Sedona:

Top Picks For Prescott

Best Hotel In Prescott

Top Activities In Prescott:

Sedona is a desert town in Arizona that is surrounded by impressive red-rock buttes, steep canyons and pine forests. Uptown Sedona has a fantastic range of shops, cafes and art galleries. 

Prescott, on the other hand, is a town known for its historic saloon street, Whiskey Row. It is also located close to a lush pine forest and Watson Lake, a stunning lake with lots of trails and boulders dotting the shore.

Sedona and Prescott are very different towns. Whilst Sedona is all about the magnificent red rock scenery, Prescott has pine forests, lakes and a charming historic town. 

Sedona is very touristy and often gets busy especially in the main uptown area. Prescott on the other hand gets nowhere near as busy and doesn’t feel very touristy. 

Most of the shops in Sedona are souvenir shops and typical tourist shops that don’t feel very authentic. Prescott, however, has a charming town that feels much more ‘real’ and not overly commercial. 

Most people rate Sedona as having much better scenery than Prescott. In fact, Sedona has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The red-rock buttes are unparalleled and Prescott just doesn’t have anything like it. 

Sedona has a much wider range of activities and things to do from hiking to ATV off-roading and even helicopter rides over the desert.

Prescott doesn’t have as much choice but there’s still plenty of things to do including hiking, kayaking and canoeing. 

Which Is Bigger? Sedona or Prescott

Prescott is much bigger than Sedona in terms of area. Prescott covers 117.1km2 whereas Sedona covers just 47.4km2.

Prescott also has a much higher population of 42,700 compared with Sedona which has just 10,300 residents. 

As Sedona is much more popular with tourists and much smaller, it can get very crowded especially in the main uptown area of town. This area of Sedona is very commercial. 

Despite being bigger, Prescott has more of a small-town vibe and feels much more relaxed and laid-back compared with Sedona. 

Which Has Better Activities? Sedona or Prescott

There’s lots to do in both Sedona and Prescott however Sedona has a much wider range of activities to choose from.

Most people also rate Sedona’s scenery to be much more interesting and beautiful compared with Prescott.

Activities In Sedona

Most people come to Sedona to see the epic red rock scenery and stunning landscapes. 

There are so many different ways to enjoy Sedona’s magnificent scenery both from the air or from the land.

Best Activities In Sedona:

Sedona has a huge focus on outdoor activities with a wide range of magnificent nature trails. Hiking is the most popular activity in Sedona as there are over 400 miles of hiking trails to choose from. 

Book yourself onto a day tour of Sedona to make sure you don’t miss any of the top sites and attractions in the desert.

Sedona has some of the most magnificent scenery in the whole of the US. Some highlights  include Bell Rock, Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock. These incredible giant red rocks & natural bridges look out of this world. 

There’s no better way to see Arizona’s incredible desert beauty than from the above. Get a birds eye view by joining a helicopter tour and see some of Sedona’s most famous red rock formations, including the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings.

Alternatively you can also join a Sedona jeep tour and explore the epic red rocks from the road.

For incredible views, head up to the viewpoint at Airport Mesa. From here you get panoramic views over Sedona including some of the most famous rock formations like Chimney Rock and Capitol Butte

Other popular activities in Sedona are fishing, mountain biking and even ATV off-roading. The best place to go fishing is at Oak Creek Canyon.

You can also spend the day on a wine tour where you’ll visit local wineries and try out some of their beverages. This activity is super relaxing and gives you a chance to try some of Sedona’s best wines.

Sedona is only a 2 hour drive from the Grand Canyon so why not join a day tour to the Grand Canyon from Sedona! Everyone should visit the Grand Canyon at least once in their lifetime, it is not to be missed. 

If you want to do a bit of shopping whilst in Sedona then head over to the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This stunning collection of Mexican-style buildings is home to over 50 boutique arts & crafts shops and a great range of restaurants. 

This Sedona stargazing tour is also super popular. You’ll get an unparalleled peek at the astronomical wonders of the Arizona night sky.

Activities In Prescott

Whilst Prescott doesn’t have quite as many activities available as Sedona, there is still plenty to do here. If you like nature and getting outdoors then you’ll love Prescott. 

Best Activities In Prescott:

Prescott has a charming town center full of history, great restaurants and lots of activities. The town has a beautiful courthouse and a pleasant town square. 

You could easily spend a day wandering around this delightful town and exploring all it has to offer. 

No trip to downtown Prescott is complete without visiting one of the many lively saloons on Whiskey Row

The Prescott National Forest is a 1.25 million acre national forest that has nearly 450 miles of scenic trails perfect for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding or mountain biking. 

Book onto an off-road adventure tour through the forest and see its untouched wilderness in all of its glory. The lush forests and tall mountains are filled with pretty lakes and streams.

If you’re looking for another picture-perfect nature spot then head over to Watson Lake which is lined with enormous rocks. There’s tons of fun outdoor activities available at the lake from fishing to kayaking. 

On the west side of town is the prominent Thumb Butte which boasts the best and most breathtaking views around.

You can hike all the way to the top following the scenic trail that winds its way upwards towards the 1,985 meter-high summit. 

Which Has Better Accommodation? Sedona vs Prescott

There are plenty of comfortable places to stay in both Sedona and Prescott. Sedona has a wider and better range of hotels including an impressive range of luxury 5-star hotels. 

The quality of accommodation is much higher in Sedona compared with Prescott. Prescott does have nice hotels but they are nowhere near as nice as Sedona’s.

Accommodation In Sedona

In Sedona most people stay in the uptown area as this is where all the shops, restaurants and amenities are.

Accommodation in Sedona is very pricey as most of the hotels and resorts are luxury. 

Best Hotels In Sedona:

Accommodation In Prescott

Accommodation in Prescott is much cheaper than Sedona. 

You won’t find any luxury hotels here but there is still a good range of comfortable and clean hotels.

Best Hotels In Prescott:

Which Is Better for Nightlife? Sedona or Prescott

Prescott has a much more lively nightlife scene compared with Sedona. Sedona isn’t known for nightlife but it does still have a range of nice bars where you can spend the evening.

Nightlife In Sedona

Sedona isn’t really known for being a party city. There are no nightclubs in Sedona at all and almost all of the bars and restaurants close by 11pm even on weekends.

Despite closing early, Sedona does have a very sophisticated nightlife scene. 

Most of Sedona’s bars are within resorts, hotels or upscale restaurants. Here you’ll find hand-crafted cocktails and luxurious lounges. 

Some of the best bars in Sedona are The Hudson, SaltRock Southwest Kitchen and 89Agave

There’s also a great range of wine bars in Sedona such as The Secret Garden Café and Oak Creek Brewery & Grill.

Nightlife In Prescott

Prescott has a lively nightlife scene. 

For the most part, nightlife happens on Whiskey Row. Whiskey Row is one of the oldest parts of town. This street is named Whiskey Row because of the large number of saloons there.

The saloons were originally built for the gold rush culture and the street drew all kinds of crowds including cowboys, gamblers, and even outlaws.

There are many lively saloons on this street you can head to including Matt’s Saloon, The Bird Cage Saloon and many more. 

Which Is More Affordable? Sedona or Prescott

Overall Sedona is much more expensive than Prescott. Things tend to be more pricey in Sedona as it’s more of a commercial, touristy town. 

Getting a hotel in Sedona will also cost significantly more than in nearby Prescott.

If budget is an issue for you then Prescott will be much cheaper than Sedona.

Both Sedona and Prescott are fantastic vacation destinations. 

I hope this article was helpful in highlighting the main differences of Sedona vs Prescott.

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