Welcome to Sanford, Florida – a charming city that offers a perfect blend of historical significance, natural beauty, and modern attractions. Nestled along the shores of Lake Monroe, Sanford provides visitors with a unique experience that goes beyond the typical Florida tourist destinations. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or someone seeking family-friendly activities, Sanford has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll uncover the hidden gems and highlight the top things to do in Sanford.
- Historic Downtown Stroll:
Start your Sanford adventure by taking a leisurely stroll through its historic downtown. Lined with brick streets and 19th-century buildings, the downtown area exudes a quaint charm. Stop by the Sanford Museum to delve into the city’s rich history, or explore the antique shops and boutiques that dot the streets. Don’t forget to visit Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café for an authentic German dining experience.
- Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens:
For a day of family-friendly fun, head to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Located just a short drive from downtown Sanford, this zoo offers a diverse range of animals, educational programs, and beautifully landscaped gardens. From giraffes and rhinos to a splash playground for the little ones, the zoo has attractions for visitors of all ages.
- Lake Monroe Marina:
Embrace the scenic beauty of Lake Monroe with a visit to the marina. Take a boat tour or rent a kayak to explore the lake at your own pace. Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to cast their lines and enjoy the tranquility of the water. The marina is also a great spot to catch a stunning sunset over the lake.
- Sanford Riverwalk:
For a relaxing day outdoors, follow the Sanford Riverwalk along the St. Johns River. This picturesque trail offers breathtaking views, benches for quiet contemplation, and even picnic areas for a laid-back lunch. The Riverwalk is a popular spot for birdwatching, so be sure to bring your binoculars to spot local and migratory birds.
- Sanford Brewing Company:
After a day of exploration, unwind at the Sanford Brewing Company. This local brewery offers a variety of craft beers brewed on-site, along with a welcoming atmosphere. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio, enjoy live music on select evenings, and savor delicious pub-style food.
- Seminole Wekiva Trail:
For those seeking outdoor activities, the Seminole Wekiva Trail is a must-visit. This 14-mile trail winds through scenic landscapes, providing an excellent opportunity for biking, jogging, or simply taking a leisurely walk. The trail is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle.
Fort Mellon Park: Make your way to Fort Mellon Park for a day of outdoor recreation. This waterfront park boasts expansive green spaces, playgrounds for the kids, and scenic views of Lake Monroe. Bring a picnic, play some frisbee, or simply relax by the water. The park often hosts community events and festivals, so check the local calendar for happenings during your visit.
Sanford Historical Society Museum: Delve deeper into Sanford’s history by visiting the Sanford Historical Society Museum. Housed in the circa-1902 Henry DeForest Sanford Memorial Building, this museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that trace the city’s development over the years. Gain insights into Sanford’s past and appreciate its cultural heritage.
Eateries along 1st Street: Take a culinary journey along 1st Street, where you’ll find a diverse array of restaurants and cafes. From upscale dining to cozy bistros and international cuisine, Sanford’s culinary scene caters to every palate. Consider trying some local favorites and embracing the flavors that define Sanford’s food culture.
Live Performances at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center: Check the schedule at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center for live performances, including theater productions, concerts, and more. Housed in a historic building, this venue adds a touch of sophistication to Sanford’s cultural scene. Enjoy a night out with friends or family and immerse yourself in the arts.
Jeanine Taylor Folk Art: Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to Jeanine Taylor Folk Art, a unique gallery showcasing folk and outsider art. Browse through a curated collection of artworks that capture the essence of Southern culture and creativity. The gallery often features rotating exhibits, so there’s always something new to discover.
St. Johns Rivership Co. Cruise: Elevate your Sanford experience with a scenic cruise along the St. Johns River. The St. Johns Rivership Co. offers lunch and dinner cruises, allowing you to enjoy delicious meals while taking in the breathtaking views. Cruise past natural landscapes and historic sites, creating memories against the backdrop of Florida’s stunning waterways.
Student Museum: For a family-friendly educational experience, visit the Student Museum. This interactive museum engages young minds with hands-on exhibits and activities. It’s a great place for kids to learn about science, history, and culture in an entertaining and informative way.
Sanford, Florida, may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about Florida destinations, but it’s undoubtedly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its historic charm, natural beauty, and a diverse range of activities, Sanford offers a unique experience for visitors. So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or someone simply looking for a laid-back getaway, Sanford has something special in store for you. Plan your trip and immerse yourself in the allure of this vibrant city.