Sedona, Arizona, "The Most Beautiful Place on Earth," continues to add accolades from visitors and travel media, taking fourth place in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA."
"Nowhere else will you find a landscape as dramatically colorful," the report declares. "The towering red rocks and jagged sandstone buttes matched against an almost-always blue sky have beckoned to professional and budding artists for years."
The ranking is part of U.S. News & World Report's annual listing of Best Vacation Destinations, released June 25. Only Telluride, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Lake Tahoe rate ahead of Sedona in the opinion of U.S. News editors and poll respondents.
“Spiritualists have flocked to the region to take advantage of the numerous New Age vortexes with supposed spirit-balancing powers," the report continues, praising Sedona's many spas for "traditional treatments with a local twist – such as red clay wraps and blue corn body scrubs." U.S. News cites Sedona's more than 100 hiking trails and local wines as additional desirable vacation amenities.
"Our high ranking is important to Sedona since our Sustainable Tourism Plan emphasizes attracting out-of-state visitors who will enjoy Sedona for more than one day or one overnight stay," said Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff. "National attention that stresses our beautiful environment and low-impact recreation aligns perfectly with our sustainability goals."
Sustainable tourism has come to the forefront in Sedona as the community of 10,000 seeks to balance its 3 million annual visitors with its delicate environment, resident quality of life, tourism-based economy and visitor experience.
"The community worked together to forge a Plan unanimously approved by our City Council in March of this year," Wesselhoff said. "The Plan positions Sedona as a national leader among major destinations in making sustainability the defining feature of our tourism industry."
U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on an analysis of expert and user opinions. "This unbiased approach makes our rankings more useful than simply providing our editors' personal opinions," the publication states.
In May, Harper’s Bazaar ranked Sedona sixth among the "The 50 Absolute Best Places to Visit in the USA." Sedona was rated a "Top Destination" by Condé Nast Traveler and the New York Times in 2018.