The amusement park capital of Orlando tends to steal the spotlight when it comes to Florida vacation destinations, but the neighboring town of Sanford offers plenty of reasons to choose its charm over the bustle of Orlando. Set just about halfway between the thrills of Orlando and the beauty of Daytona Beach, Sanford is the perfect home base for a budget-friendly exploration of central Florida.
Set on the shores of Lake Monroe, visitors can experience the allure of Florida’s natural beauty with a walk along the Sanford Riverwalk Trail. The paved path connects visitors with parks and attractions like Wayside Park, Fort Mellon Park and the Sanford Museum, which offers a look at the city’s history through the art collections and manuscripts of city founder Henry Shelton Sanford. The trail also conveniently connects walkers with downtown Sanford, where boutique shops, restaurants and monthly art walks and outdoor celebrations welcome visitors to the Sanford way of life amidst historic 19th-century buildings.
Parks are plentiful throughout Sanford and one of the city’s biggest draws, a welcome change of pace from the bustling crowds of nearby Orlando. Aside from Wayside Park at Lake Monroe and Fort Mellon Park, visitors to Sanford can stop by the Lake Jesup Wilderness Area and Wilson’s Landing Park while in the area. If using Sanford as a jumping off point to visit neighboring areas, both Orlando and Daytona Beach are about a 30- to 40-minute drive.
Sanford enjoys sunshine throughout the year, but because of its proximity to Orlando, the city shares its peak travel seasons with the popular family vacation destination. To find cheap flights to Sanford, travelers should avoid Orlando’s peak travel months of March, April, June, July, August and December. Shoulder season months of February, May, September and October may have cheaper flights thanks to fewer families traveling to Orlando. Travelers may also want to avoid July and August because of the high humidity and temperatures that these months bring to the region.
Visitors to Sanford can use the local public transportation system to get around the city, though bus frequency and the location of stops may make it more convenient to rent a car during a stay in Sanford. Visitors to Sanford who rent a car should find it fairly easy to navigate the city and surrounding destinations if driving themselves.