Less “Orlando North,” as Seminole County officials dubbed it to attract more tourists, than simply north of Orlando, Sanford is one those small charming towns that make you want to say good riddance to the city and hello to the clean, crisp air. Bordered by lakes and a gratifying amount of eclectic culture, it’s both a nature lover’s and a homebody’s cozy Americana dream.
Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café
205 E. First St., Sanford, 407-321-2204, willowtreecafe.com
Come for the German food and beer, stay because you've never felt so comfortable wearing your lederhosen in public.
The Original Christo's
107 W. First St., Sanford, 407-320-0799, theoriginalchristos.com
As grass-roots as they come, the Original Christo's is every inch an O.G. local diner. To hell with all of the trendy eateries, this is real food for real people.
120 S. Park Ave., Sanford, 407-328-4848, fuelbbq.com
Barbecue as it's meant to be served – on a metal tray and without the frills. From there, get down next door at the Alley, a live blues venue owned by the same folks.
214 E. First St., Sanford, 407-205-9569, wondermade.com
Handmade marshmallows (served toasted on sticks or sandwiched in s'mores) and ice cream in flavors like Guinness, pretzel, violet, cornbread and blueberry cobbler are startlingly addictive. Once you pop, you can't stop.
Sanford Brewing Co.
400 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford, 407-732-6419, sanfordbrewing.com
When gastropub meets brewery, this is the result. Try a flight of one of their in-house brews.
Little Fish Huge Pond
401 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford, 407-221-1499, littlefish-hugepond.com
Intimate soul performances, pirate parties, hookah-passing and then some – you never quite know what you'll get when it comes to this boozy hangout.
The Stranded Sailor Pub
418 Sanford Ave., Sanford, 407-878-2519, facebook.com/thestrandedsailor
We all have a little stranded sailor in us, so why not be marooned at beer-sea at one of the most laid-back joints in town?
Consider this the main vein of Sanford. Spend a day jaunting up and down the city's Riverwalk, and make sure to stop by one of the parks along the way for a breezy rest.
Katie's Landing at Wekiva River
262 Wekiva Park Drive, Sanford, 407-884-2009, katieslanding.com
For those who are paddle-sport happy, this is essentially Mecca. But make sure to call ahead or use their online reservation page, just to be safe.
Zoom Air Adventure Park
3755 W. Seminole Blvd., Sanford, 407-330-0767, zoomair.us
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