Sanford is a sunny city and seat of Florida’s Seminole County and a water-sport enthusiasts’ paradise. Situated halfway between Daytona Beach and Orlando and close to Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River, the city is home to beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings, a charming waterfront with quaint boutique stores, bustling cafés and restaurants, and lovely water views. Sanford is a popular spot for world-class fishing, all kinds of water-sports, and getting out and about in nature. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Wayne Dench Performing Arts Center
Located on South Magnolia Avenue, the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art community arts theater that presents an array of performances ranging from plays and concerts to films and musicals throughout the year. Built in 1923 as the Milane Theatre, the historic center has a rich and long-standing heritage that saw the theater changing owners and names several times before becoming the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center. Today, the theater still retains much of its old character and intimate ambiance, including the neon RITZ Theatre sign as it was in the 1930s, but has upgraded LED technology lighting to enhance performances.
201 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-321-8111
2.Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
© Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a 116-acre animal sanctuary and arboretum north of Orlando that is home to over 500 animals representing 205 species and an array of flora. In addition to a variety of habitats and exhibits that showcase animals in their natural habitats, the zoo also features several attractions such the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground Water Park, the ZOOm Air Adventure Park, which offers an aerial adventure course, the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo, and an authentic carousel with rides for young visitors. Guests can explore the zoo and gardens on a 16-inch gauge ridable miniature railway that chugs around the park and enjoy giraffe feedings and rhino encounters for an additional fee. The zoo also operates the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, an offsite conservation center that helps to breed and release eastern indigo snakes into the wild.
3755 W Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-323-4450
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3.Jeanine Taylor Folk Art, Sanford, Florida
© Jeanine Taylor Folk Art
The Jeanine Taylor Folk Art is a locally owned gallery that focuses on contemporary folk art. Located in the charming historic district of Downtown Sanford, native Floridian, Jeanine Taylor established the gallery in 1997 to preserve Florida’s rich artistic culture. The gallery showcases works by local folk artists like Theresa Disney, Missionary Mary Proctor, Butch Anthony, Ruby C. Williams, John "Cornbread Anderson, and Purvis Young. The Jeanine Taylor Folk Art hosts a variety of rotating exhibitions and special events throughout the year.
211 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-323-2774
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4.Deviant Wolfe Brewing, Sanford, Florida
© Deviant Wolfe Brewing
Deviant Wolfe Brewing is a locally owned microbrewery in the heart of historic downtown Sanford that produces a range of quality, handcrafted beers. Tucked between the West End Theater and the Tennessee Truffle on 1st Street, the brewery brews a selection of specialty draft and bottled beers using locally sourced ingredients and seasonal additives. The taproom has communal tables where visitors can relax while sampling some of the brewery’s brews, as well as a guest tap cider and a selection of local wines. Guests can order food from any of the surrounding restaurants and have it delivered to the taproom.
121 W 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-878-4367
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5.Lower Wekiva River State Preserve
The Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park is a nature reserve and critical wildlife habitat spanning over 20,000 acres that incorporates the St. Johns and Wekiva Rivers. Forming a wildlife corridor to the Ocala National Forest along six miles of the St. Johns River, the park is home to a wealth of wildlife including alligators, river otters, black bears, sandhill cranes, and wood storks. The park also offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities ranging from hiking, horseback riding, camping, and equestrian camping to fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
8300 FL-46, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-884-2009
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6.The Henry Shelton Sanford Memorial Library and Museum
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Established in 1957, the Henry Shelton Sanford Memorial Library and Museum, now known as the Sanford Museum, is dedicated to the history of the Sanford. The museum houses a vast collection of books, documents, and papers from the founder of the city, Henry S. Sanford, as well as American and European paintings, personal objects, and furniture dating back to the 1800s. The museum is home to the Chase Gallery which features exhibits on city-related elements like the fire and police departments, riverboats and railroads, city planning, and the Naval Air Station.
520 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-688-5198
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7.Historic Sanford Welcome Center, Sanford, FL
© Historic Sanford Welcome Center
The Historic Sanford Welcome Center is a community center and communications hub that provides a wealth of information about the city of Sanford and its attractions and activities. The center is manned by friendly, welcoming locals who are on hand to offer advice and information on everything about the city from its history and culture, best restaurants and bars, and businesses and services to top things to see and do while visiting. The Historic Sanford Welcome Center keeps up to date with all the latest events and festivals happening in the region and is open daily.
230 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-302-2586
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© SR Productions/stock.adobe.com
The Sanford RiverWalk follows along the shoreline of scenic Lake Monroe in the city of Sanford, Florida. Located just north of busy Orlando, the Riverwalk Trail extends from Mellonville Avenue to US 17-92 and offers local residents and visitors alike an opportunity to stroll down one of the county’s most scenic paved trails while taking in views of the lake. Along with providing access to the historic downtown Sanford, the Sanford Riverwalk also connects Lake Monroe to Fort Mellon Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Log Cabin Memorial Park, Wayside Park, the Sanford Museum, shops, restaurants, a public boat ramp, and more.
E Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771, 407-328-0018
9.American Bronze Foundry, Sanford, Florida
© American Bronze Foundry
The American Bronze Foundry is a state-of-the-art facility that specializes in producing fine art and museum-quality bronze sculpture castings. The facility uses the highest quality and top-of-the-line materials to produce spectacular bronze casts with intricate detailing utilizing both ancient and modern techniques. Professional and expert in-house sculptors can produce all types of sculptures from a variety of mediums such as drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, and 3D digital file formats, and molds are cast in clay, wood, plastic, wax, and leather.
1650 E Lake Mary Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773, Phone: 407-328-8090
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10.Red Hill Groves, Sanford, Florida
© Red Hill Groves
Red Hill Groves is a long-standing, family-owned citrus farm that has been growing and providing fresh Florida citrus to the community and the world since 1962. Located in the Indian River growing district with the home grove in Sanford, the farm has a large on-site shop that sells a wide variety of citrus products, such as the highest quality Florida Navel oranges, Red Navel oranges, Honeybell tangelos, Tangerines, Valencia oranges, and Grapefruit. The country-style farm shop also sells fresh Georgia pecans, handmade citrus candies, homemade jams, and preserves, and citrus fruit and gift baskets, and a small café serve coffee and light snacks, as well as a home-cooked barbecue.
7210 N Ronald Reagan Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773, Phone: 407-885-0272
11.Goldsboro Historical Museum, Sanford, Florida
© Goldsboro Historical Museum
The Goldsboro Historical Museum is dedicated to the history of the Goldsboro community of Sanford and the role the community has played in the development of the city. Located on the Historic Goldsboro Boulevard, the museum was founded in 1891 by Mr. William Clark and was the second all-black township in the United States. The museum houses an array of exhibits that showcase the residents, businesses, churches, schools, and general stores in Goldsboro and offer docent-led guided tours throughout the week. Admission to the museum is free.
1211 Historic Goldsboro Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-585-0692
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12.The Corner Cafe, Sanford, Florida
© The Corner Cafe
The Corner Cafe is a friendly, neighborhood café-by-day and bistro-by-night in the heart of the Historic Downtown District that serves a menu of fresh, made-from-scratch fare. The pet-friendly eatery has inviting indoor dining spaces and an outdoor patio with lovely views of the downtown district and serves breakfast and lunch menus of freshly prepared salads, panini-style sandwiches, and homemade soups. Dinner menus feature hand-prepared, multi-course meals of creative entrées, and a full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including craft beers, casual wines, and classic cocktails. The Corner Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
101 W 1st St A, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-322-3779
13.The Original Christo's, Sanford, Florida
© The Original Christo's
Located in Downtown Sanford, The Original Christo’s is a long-standing family-owned restaurant that has been serving hearty, home-cooked food in a warm, inviting space for over 50 years. Established in 1971 by the Cranias family, the grassroots family restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has an extensive menu of comfort food from burgers, steaks, wood-fired pizza, and pasta to fresh seafood, salads, and homemade soups. The restaurant has a spacious and airy dining area with plenty of comfortable booths and table seating and offers customized catering services for special events and functions.
107 W 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-320-0799
14.Buster's Bistro Belgian Bar, Sanford, Florida
Buster’s Bistro is a popular brewpub that specializes in Belgian beer and traditional Belgian pub grub, along with live music from the resident band, Delirium. Located in historic Downtown Sanford, the bistro has a spacious indoor dining area with rustic-chic décor and warm wood finishes and a lovely outdoor area for summertime dining and drinking. The bistro offers a unique Belgian experience with a variety of imported Belgian beers, innovative draft cocktails, and authentic Belgian fare like frites, poutine, Croque monsieur, and pork pot roast. Buster’s Bistro hosts a variety of events throughout the week, including live music from Delirium Band, Trivia on Tuesday, and a live DJ every Saturday night.
300 Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32771, Phone: 407-732-6880
15.Black Bear Wilderness Area
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The Black Bear Wilderness Area spans across approximately 1,600 acres of northwest Seminole County. Featuring an array of wetland habitats in the St. John River's floodplain, the area includes Cypress Swamps, Hydric Hammock, and Wet Prairies that create a diverse habitat mosaic. A variety of wildlife can be found within the Black Bear Wilderness Area, such as Florida Black Bears, American Alligators, River Otters, Swallow-tailed Kite, and White-tailed deer. There's also a trail system following historic levees, with boardwalks over wet areas, that takes visitors along the St. John River. These trails fortunately stay dry the majority of the year.
5301 Michigan Ave, Sanford, FL 32771, 407-665-0000
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16.Gallery On First
Gallery on First in Sanford, Florida is a unique working space and art gallery for both emerging and professional artists. The gallery provides the public a look into the artistic process through conversations with working artists, education, events, and shows. Situated within an eclectic environment, Gallery on First is located where a passion for art can be shared with the spirit of “Southern hospitality” that fits with its location in the historic downtown area of the city. The gallery brings the minds of more than ten artists together, with each artist sharing their own unique perspective through their working art studios.
211 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771, 407-323-2774
17.Fort Mellon Park
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Fort Mellon Park is a great park in Sanford that offers a variety of amenities for visitors to enjoy. Located on Lake Monroe, the park provides access to a relaxing walk along the Sanford Riverwalk with great views and plenty of seating options lining the walkway. Fort Mellon Park includes a playground for kids of all ages, a splash pad to cook off on hot summer days, tennis courts, basketball courts, barbeque grills, play equipment, and restrooms. There are also eight shaded pavilions at the park that the public can rent for birthday parties and other special occasions.
600 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771
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18.Katie's Wekiva River Landing
Katie's Wekiva River Landing provides a launch site on the Wekiva River for paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. Originating in Wekiwa Springs State Park, the river flows north for approximately seventeen miles before it joins the St. Johns River. The river is also designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and is one of just two rivers in the state to be recognized as such. While paddling down the Wekiva River, visitors are surrounded by diverse habitats and abundant wildlife. Katie's Wekiva River Landing is the only site for launching kayaks and canoes within the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park.
262 Wekiva Park Dr, Sanford, FL 32771, 407-884-2009
19.The Museum of Seminole County History
© The Museum of Seminole County History
The Museum of Seminole County History in Sanford, Florida dedicates itself to the preservation of the culture and history of Seminole County, as well as its place in Central Florida. The museum aims to educate the general public about the area’s unique heritage. Special events, photographs, documents, maps, artifacts, and a variety of exhibits tell stories of the inhabitants of Seminole County, their heritage, their lineages, and their lives. All of the artifacts on display were donated to The Museum of Seminole County History by the local community. Exhibits include “Early Forts and Settlements” and “Native Americans of Central Florida.”
300 Eslinger Way, Sanford, FL 32773, 407-665-2489
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20 Best Things to Do in Sanford, Florida
- Wayne Dench Performing Arts Center, Photo: Aditya/stock.adobe.com
- Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Photo: Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
- Jeanine Taylor Folk Art, Sanford, Florida, Photo: Jeanine Taylor Folk Art
- Deviant Wolfe Brewing, Sanford, Florida, Photo: Deviant Wolfe Brewing
- Lower Wekiva River State Preserve, Photo: baon/stock.adobe.com
- The Henry Shelton Sanford Memorial Library and Museum, Photo: ri en/stock.adobe.com
- Historic Sanford Welcome Center, Sanford, FL, Photo: Historic Sanford Welcome Center
- Sanford RiverWalk, Photo: SR Productions/stock.adobe.com
- American Bronze Foundry, Sanford, Florida, Photo: American Bronze Foundry
- Red Hill Groves, Sanford, Florida, Photo: Red Hill Groves
- Goldsboro Historical Museum, Sanford, Florida, Photo: Goldsboro Historical Museum
- The Corner Cafe, Sanford, Florida, Photo: The Corner Cafe
- The Original Christo's, Sanford, Florida, Photo: The Original Christo's
- Buster's Bistro Belgian Bar, Sanford, Florida, Photo: Parilov/stock.adobe.com
- Black Bear Wilderness Area, Photo: Dolores Harvey/stock.adobe.com
- Gallery On First, Photo: ANNELEVEN/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Mellon Park, Photo: SR Productions/stock.adobe.com
- Katie's Wekiva River Landing, Photo: rocketclips/stock.adobe.com
- The Museum of Seminole County History, Photo: The Museum of Seminole County History
- Cover Photo: SR Productions/stock.adobe.com
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