If authentic experiences served with southern hospitality are on your “to-do” list, Sanford is the place to be. Make the most of your visit, with this handy-dandy checklist of 10 must-do experiences in Sanford, NC.
Enjoy some fresh air while exploring 177+ lush acres of San-Lee Park. Hike through the park’s many winding paths or hit the trails with your mountain bike. Pack some PB&J’s to enjoy a picnic or fish in one of San-Lee Park’s well-stocked lakes. If you’re a birdwatcher, be on the lookout for songbirds such as the Great Crested Flycatcher and Hooded Warbler. (San-Lee is featured on the North Carolina Birding Trail list.) You’ll also want to check out the paddle boat rides available seasonally.
Get ready for golf, golf, and more golf! With four award-winning public golf courses in the area, Sanford is a go-to destination to swing a club. Voted one of the top golf courses in the world, Tobacco Road Golf Course is an extreme course with skill-challenging greens that aren’t the typical shape or size. For a more leisurely round of golf, Carolina Trace Golf Course prides itself on being playable for golfers of any skill level. Quail Ridge Golf Course offers a pleasant, affordable course as well as a full grill, so families can spend the day on the links. Rounding out the list is the Sanford Municipal Golf Course, which offers beautiful views of blooming azaleas, pine trees, and Buffalo Creek.
Deep River Sporting Clays
Nestled amidst 65 acres of scenic woodlands, Deep River Sporting Clays is a one-of-a-kind sporting facility featuring 13 shooting fields, a wobble deck, an 8-lane shooting pavilion and a 1,300 sq. ft. clubhouse and pro shop. Book private lessons with one of the NSCA and CSM certified instructors at the shooting school or mark your calendar for the next Southern Side by Side Championship and Exhibition.
Paddling On The Water
Paddle the day away on either the Deep River, Cape Fear River or Jordan Lake. Launch a canoe or kayak from several boat ramps including two new boats ramps which will open early spring. Looking for a more low-key, relaxing experience? Drop the oars for some river tubing. Float through picturesque forests, cross under Camelback Bridge and bask in the beautiful Sanford sun. Learn more about our amazing water trails.
Sanford Antique Trail
Discover antique treasures with plenty of character on the Sanford Antique Trail. Seven unique stops await you for a lovely shopping afternoon, day or weekend. Browse furniture with character, china with charm, striking art, homey accents and much more to brighten up your personal space. Here’s a complete trail map to plan your experience.
Historic Railroad House
Stoke your passion for history at the Historic Railroad House where you’ll learn about the City of Sanford’s beginnings. As the oldest house in Sanford, the Railroad House was originally built after the Raleigh & Augusta Airline Railroad was extended from Raleigh to what is downtown Sanford today. Narrowly escaping destruction in 1962, the Railroad House now serves as a local museum for visitors.
Mural Art Trail
As you wind your way through the city, be sure to take in Sanford’s popular Mural Art Trail. These larger-than-life works of art capture the city’s rich history and imagination, including the Tobacco Mural celebrating Sanford’s rich agricultural roots and the “Off to War” WWII Mural honoring Lee County veterans. Other more whimsical murals capture the spirit and creativity of the area, such as the Dream Mural and the Fairview Dairy Mural — the first of its kind in North Carolina, featuring 3-D cows. This memorable must-see will certainly leave you with some “Instagrammable” photos to share with friends and family.
See A Show
Fans of the performing arts will want to visit both the Mann Center of North Carolina and Temple Theatre. Described as “The Crown Jewel of Lee County,” the Mann Center serves as the Arts and Community Center of Lee County. It’s home to various community theater events, concerts and other productions throughout the year. While you’re there, be sure to check out the creative painting of the Brush & Palette Club. More on-stage entertainment can be enjoyed over at the historic Temple Theatre. Built in 1925, this theatre space is where you can attend professional stage productions, special events and more throughout the year.
Local Eateries and Drink Spots
Experiencing all there is to do in Sanford is bound to make you hungry. Stop by one of Sanford’s iconic eateries or drink spots to satisfy your appetite and quench your thirst. Local favorites like Fairview Dairy Bar and Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House are perfect for lunch. For dinner, snag a table at restaurants like The Flame Steakhouse or La Dolce Vita Pizzeria. Local Joe’s, Hugger Mugger Brewing Company, Camelback Brewing Company and Wild Dogs Brewing Company are some beloved establishments to grab a drink. Or satisfy your sweet tooth at both Yarborough’s Homemade Ice Cream and Sandra’s Bakery. On the whole, there’s no chance you’ll leave Sanford with an empty stomach.
Finally, there’s one big reason some folks visit Sanford and Lee County and that’s to tie the knot. The area boasts some of the most beautiful ceremony and reception venues around. From the class and sophistication of Hawkins House to the rustic charm of Sugarneck. On the other hand, you can say, “I do!” overlooking scenic fairways at Carolina Trace Country Club or go all out western at Circle M City. Whatever your ideal wedding day hold, Sanford is the destination where it all can happen.