Things to Do in Sanford

Best Things to Do in Sanford, Florida

Sanford, Florida is a charming city that offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just having fun, there’s something for everyone.

One of the best things to do in Sanford is to explore the historic downtown area. With its brick-lined streets, quaint shops, and delicious restaurants, it’s easy to spend a whole day wandering around and taking in the sights. You can also visit the Sanford Museum to learn more about the city’s fascinating past. If you’re interested in art, be sure to check out the Gallery on First, which features works by local artists.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Sanford has plenty to offer. The Black Bear Wilderness Area is a beautiful natural area that’s surprisingly isolated considering its proximity to the city. The 7.2-mile loop trail takes you through the heart of the wilderness, where you can spot a variety of wildlife. For a more relaxed outdoor experience, head to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which is home to over 400 animals and 23 acres of gardens.

Exploring Historic Sanford

The Historic Downtown of Sanford is full of beautiful architecture and fascinating stories that will transport you back in time. Here are a few things you won’t want to miss on your visit.

Stroll Through Historic Downtown Sanford

Take a leisurely walk through the streets of Historic Downtown Sanford and soak up the atmosphere. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful historic buildings that have been lovingly restored to their former glory. As you stroll, make sure to keep an eye out for the Historic Sanford Welcome Center, which is housed in a beautifully restored 1887 building. The center is a great place to start your visit, as it offers maps and information about the area.

Visit the Sanford Museum

For a deeper dive into Sanford’s history, head to the Sanford Museum. This small but fascinating museum is located in the heart of the historic district and offers a glimpse into Sanford’s past. You’ll find exhibits on everything from the city’s early settlers to its role in the Civil War. The museum is housed in a historic building that was once a hotel, adding to the charm of your visit.

Outdoor Adventures

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Sanford has plenty of activities to keep you entertained. From kayaking to hiking, fishing to horseback riding, there is something for everyone.

Kayaking on St. Johns River

One of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of Sanford is by kayaking on the St. Johns River. The river is a popular spot for kayaking, and there are several rental companies in the area that can provide you with all the equipment you need. As you paddle along the river, you will be surrounded by nature, with opportunities to spot local wildlife such as alligators and turtles.

Hiking at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

For those who prefer to stay on land, the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park offers miles of hiking trails through beautiful natural scenery. The park features a diverse range of ecosystems, including swamps, marshes, and forests. The trails are well-maintained and suitable for hikers of all levels, with options ranging from short, easy walks to longer, more challenging hikes.

Fishing on Lake Monroe

Lake Monroe is a popular spot for fishing in Sanford, with plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish species such as bass, crappie, and catfish. The lake is also a great place to relax and enjoy the waterfront scenery, with several parks and picnic areas located along its shores.

Wildlife and Nature

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

You can’t visit Sanford without stopping by the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. This zoo is home to over 350 animals, including alligators, cheetahs, and rhinos. The zoo also has a botanical garden with over 1000 species of plants. You can take a train ride around the park, feed the giraffes, or participate in a behind-the-scenes tour. The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a must-visit for animal lovers of all ages.

Bird-Watching at Fort Mellon Park

If you’re a bird-watching enthusiast, Fort Mellon Park is the place to be. This park is located on the shore of Lake Monroe and is home to a variety of bird species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and herons. You can take a walk along the lake and spot some of these beautiful birds in their natural habitat. Fort Mellon Park is also a great place to have a picnic or go fishing.

Arts and Culture Scene

Catch a Show at Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center

The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts a variety of live entertainment, including theater, music, dance, and comedy. The theater’s intimate setting provides a unique experience for the audience, allowing them to connect with the performers on a personal level. The center has a packed schedule of performances throughout the year, so be sure to check their website for upcoming shows.

Explore Gallery on First

Gallery on First is an art gallery that showcases contemporary folk art by talented local artists. The gallery’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, pottery, and other unique pieces that reflect the rich artistic culture of Florida. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, providing a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work.

Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery

Another must-visit destination for art lovers is the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery. This gallery features a remarkable collection of artworks by talented local artists, with a primary focus on preserving Florida’s rich artistic culture. The gallery’s collection includes contemporary folk art, paintings, sculptures, and other unique pieces that reflect the state’s diverse cultural heritage.

Food and Beverage Delights

Savor Local Flavors at Sanford Food Tours

Embark on a culinary adventure with Sanford Food Tours, where you can savor the local flavors of Sanford. This guided tour takes you to some of the best restaurants and eateries in town, where you can sample a variety of dishes and learn about the history and culture of the city. From Southern comfort food to international cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Craft Beer Tasting at Deviant Wolfe Brewing

If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you won’t want to miss Deviant Wolfe Brewing. This local brewery offers a wide selection of unique and flavorful beers, from IPAs to stouts. Take a tour of the brewery and learn about the brewing process, or simply sit back and enjoy a cold one in the taproom.

Farm-to-Table Dining

For a truly authentic culinary experience, head to one of Sanford’s farm-to-table restaurants. These eateries source their ingredients from local farms and suppliers, ensuring that you get the freshest and most flavorful dishes possible. From organic vegetables to grass-fed beef, you can taste the difference in every bite.

Cocktails and Wine at Buster’s Bistro

Buster’s Bistro is the place to be for cocktails and wine in Sanford. This cozy bistro offers an extensive selection of wines and craft cocktails, as well as a menu of small plates and desserts. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic cocktail or something more adventurous, Buster’s Bistro has got you covered.

Events and Entertainment

Enjoy Sanford’s Porchfest Music Festival

If you are a music lover, then you must attend Sanford’s Porchfest Music Festival. This festival is held every year in November and features live music from local and regional artists. The festival is unique in that the musicians perform on the porches of historic homes in the Sanford Residential Historic District. This gives the festival a cozy and intimate feel that you won’t find anywhere else.

Live Music and Events at Henry’s Depot

Henry’s Depot is a popular spot for live music and events in Sanford. This venue hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including live music, comedy shows, and trivia nights. The atmosphere at Henry’s Depot is cozy and welcoming, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some great entertainment.

In addition to the events at Henry’s Depot, there are plenty of other live music options in Sanford. Check out the local bars and restaurants for live music performances, or head to the Sanford Sound Garden for outdoor concerts and events.

Leisure and Recreation

Relax at Veterans Memorial Park

If you’re in the mood for some peace and quiet, head over to Veterans Memorial Park. This beautiful park is a great place to relax and unwind. Take a walk along the winding paths, sit by the lake and watch the ducks, or have a picnic with your family. The park also has a playground for kids, so they can burn off some energy while you enjoy the scenery.

Sailing with U-Sail of Central Florida

For a more adventurous day out, consider sailing with U-Sail of Central Florida. They offer sailing lessons and rentals for all skill levels, so whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, you can enjoy the beautiful waters of Lake Monroe. The company also offers sunset cruises, so you can enjoy a romantic evening on the water. With U-Sail of Central Florida, you can experience the thrill of sailing while taking in the stunning views of Sanford.

Shopping and Local Businesses

Sanford is a great place to shop for unique and locally-made items. Take a stroll down South Magnolia Avenue, where you’ll find a variety of boutique shops that take pride in supporting local makers. From funky and functional handcrafted items at Magpie’s Modern General to vintage finds at Antiques & Uniques, there’s something for everyone.

Boutique Shopping on South Magnolia Avenue

South Magnolia Avenue is home to several locally-owned boutiques that offer a unique shopping experience. At Magpie’s Modern General, you’ll find a variety of handcrafted items, ranging from socks to jewelry, and from sunglasses to all-natural household cleaners. The store takes pride in supporting local makers, so you can be confident that when you’re shopping in Sanford, you are shopping local!

If you’re looking for vintage finds, head over to Antiques & Uniques. This store offers a wide selection of vintage and antique items, including furniture, home decor, and clothing. The store has been in business for over 20 years and is known for its quality and selection.

Visit Red Hill Groves Citrus Farm

For a taste of local agriculture, visit Red Hill Groves Citrus Farm. This family-owned farm has been in business since 1962 and is known for its high-quality citrus products. Take a tour of the farm and learn about the history of the citrus industry in Florida. You can also shop for fresh oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits, as well as jams, jellies, and other citrus products.

Transportation and Accessibility

Arrive via Sanford Airport

The Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is located just a few miles south of downtown Sanford. This airport is serviced by several airlines and offers both domestic and international flights. Once you arrive at the airport, there are several transportation options available to get you to your destination. You can take a taxi, shuttle, or rental car from the airport to your hotel or other destinations in the city.

Arrive via Amtrak Auto Train

If you prefer to travel by train, the Amtrak Auto Train is a great option. The Auto Train departs from Lorton, Virginia and arrives in Sanford, Florida. This train allows you to bring your car along with you, making it easy to explore the city and surrounding areas. Once you arrive in Sanford, there are several transportation options available to get you to your destination.

No matter how you arrive in Sanford, there are several transportation options available to help you get around the city. There is a commuter rail that connects Sanford to Orlando, and a free trolley system that connects the Sun Rail station to the central downtown area. The trolley is not only a convenient mode of transportation, but it is also a great way to see the city.

In addition to the trolley, there are also several taxi and shuttle services available. If you prefer to explore the city on your own, there are several car rental companies located in and around the Sanford area.