25 Best & Fun Things to Do in Sanford (NC)

In search of the top fun things to do in Sanford, NC? Sanford is a city and Lee County’s seat located in the middle of North Carolina State, United States.

After the 2020 census, Sanford was reported to have a population of twenty-nine thousand, seven hundred and fifty-eight.

Sanford was named after a railroad civil engineer, C.O. Sanford, who played an enormous role in the construction of the rail lines within the area, which led to the foundation of Sanford City.

The city offers an eclectic blend of all a big city has, giving visitors and locals the chance to experience everything without traveling from one place to another.

Some of the best places to visit in Sanford, NC, include Smoke and Barrel, Temple Theatre, Matilda’s Coffee, Old Gilliam Mill Park, Libations 139, the Kiwanis Family Park, and more.

Are you planning an exploration of Sanford? Here are the best things to do in Sanford, NC.

Things to Do in Sanford, NC

1. San-Lee Park

San-Lee Park
Credits: Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr
San-Lee Park

Are you ready to go outside and have fun? A visit to San-Lee Park ought to be on your list of fun things to do in Sanford, NC.

San-Lee Park is an amazing outdoor destination that offers visitors and locals a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities.

The Park is home to charming hiking trails of four miles, which extends across the two lakes before going through the woodlands, including a mountain bike trail of 12-mile perfect for only professional bikers.

It features numerous picnic areas and campgrounds for those who would like to stay for a while with their loved ones.

San-Lee Park is home to two scenic lakes and enormous open grassland; the lakes are open for many water-related activities such as paddle boating, geocaching, fishing, and more.

The Park offers children an opportunity to discover more facts about wildlife at the educational nature center. San-Lee Park offers free fishing equipment for children whose parents cannot afford it.

Address: 572 Pumping Station Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

2. White Pines Nature Preserve

White Pines Nature Preserve
Credits: NC Wetlands / Flickr
White Pines Nature Preserve

If you want to truly explore this gorgeous city, visiting White Pines Nature Preserve is a must-do.

White Pines Nature Preserve is home to one of the rarest trees in the region for which it was named after.

Some hiking trails travel for miles, offering you beautiful sights of wildflowers and white pines.

Along the way, you will find foxes, kingfishers, hawks, foxes, thrush, wild turkeys, muskrats, and deer dwelling in the area. White Pines Nature Preserve offers educational programs and nature seminars for children.

Address: 548 S Rocky River Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

3. Big Bloomers Flower Farm

Big Bloomers Flower Farm
Credits: Scott Zona / Flickr
Big Bloomers Flower Farm

Relocated to its new locale in 1994, Big Bloomers Flower Farm was originally founded in 1978. It had to move to a new place in a quest for a larger facility.

Big Bloomers Flower Farm currently occupies six acres of land space from forty-acre family farmland as not just a retail company but a producer.

The company specially cultivates for home gardeners allowing customers to raise significant savings. They offer a wide variety of species making supplies limited even as a retail outlet.

Their garden shop area is stocked with an enormous collection of pottery, statuary, metalwork, fountains, and other garden-related items.

Big Bloomers Flower Farm solely focuses on shrubs & herbs, annuals, rare & local perennials, and seasonal products like Easter lilies, poinsettias, and garden mums.

The staff is professional and highly knowledgeable when it comes to cultivating gardens.

Address: 275 Pressly Foushee Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

4. Sanford Antique Mall

Sanford Antique Mall
Credits: Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr
Sanford Antique Mall

Sanford Antique Mall is an 18,000-square feet facility in the historic downtown area of Sanford, housing over seventy-five vendors.

The Mall offers visitors and residents a remarkable local shopping experience through a variety of contemporary products.

The shopping center features dealers offering an impressive collection of quality hardwood furniture from mid-century modern to American primitive to Victorian.

Sanford Antique Mall is packed with a variety of vintage clothing, native pottery, books, collectibles, glassware, coins, home décor, toys, and more.

You might end up spending more time than planned scanning through the Mall like you’re on a mission to hunt for treasures.

Address: 118 S Moore St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

5. Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School

Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School
Credits: Prath / Shutterstock

For those searching for an exhilarating activity that will send an adrenaline rush through their veins, visiting Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School is one of the best places to visit in Sanford, NC.

Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School have served the public for about thirty years, offering them various packages.

The center offers three packages, including the sporting clay course featuring thirteen shooting fields.

The shooting pavilion course consists of an outdoor range with eight lanes and the Wobble Deck featuring a practice field with 25-targets erected within a wobble trap.

Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School sits on twenty-six hectares (65-acre) of charming forestland for a more incredible experience.

The center is open from Monday to Wednesday, & Saturday from 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm-5 pm (closed on Thursday & Friday).

Address: 284 Cletus Hall Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

6. Old Gilliam Mill Park

Ole Gilliam Mill Park
Credits: Ole Gilliam Mill Park / Facebook
Ole Gilliam Mill Park

Travel back in time when you visit Old Gilliam Mill Park. This Mill was originally constructed in 1850 and functioned actively for twenty years.

Alexander Mclver later acquired old Gilliam Mill Park but resold it to John and Jessie Gilliam in 1890, which is the reason for its name.

They managed it until 1928 when a mighty flood demolished it, and a complete duplicate of it was built in 1979.

Old Gilliam Mill Park is located on a beautiful land open to residents and visitors. You can tour the Mill and enjoy the unique surroundings with exciting demonstrations carried out once a year by cranking up old equipment.

The Park consists of numerous ancient structures, a shaded bridge, an amphitheater, a stage, and other fascinating landmarks.

Address: 4717 Carbonton Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

7. Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Historic Downtown Walking Tour
Credits: Gerry Dincher / Flickr
Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Take a stroll through the Historic Downtown Sanford and take in the eclectic and wonderful ambiance, which tells a lot about the community and its people. It Is one of the top things to do in Sanford, NC.

You can acquire a detailed audio record and a map at the Chamber of Commerce, which will guide you during your walking tour.

You will also find buildings constructed between the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the Coca-Cola building, the passenger depot, and the City hall.

You will also sight many lovely stores, boutiques, parks, game centers, entertainment hubs, eateries, and more.

Don’t forget to stop by any of the stores for some unique gifts and souvenirs for yourself or your loved ones.

Whenever you begin to feel peckish, you can walk into any of the restaurants and try out delicious meals and drinks.

Address: 115 Chatham St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

8. Smoke and Barrel

Smoke and Barrel
Credits: The Smoke and Barrel / Facebook
Smoke and Barrel

Smoke and Barrel is a renowned food location in Sanford. It is one place keen on bringing people together through good food.

This restaurant is different from other regular ones. Everything about Smoke and Barrel is exciting, from decor to food.

Smoke and Barrel is housed in a historic country building that has been beautifully revived using unique decor and design.

As a famous barbecue location, Smoke and Barrel offers an energetic and vibrant atmosphere encouraging visitors to come in.

They are known for serving the most delicious southern sides, chicken gyro, smoked brisket, and pulled pork, coupled with brown spirits and chilled beers to blend with the drinks.

Smoke and Barrel is open from Monday to Wednesday from 11 am-9 pm, Thursday from 11 am-10 pm, and Friday & Saturday from 11 am-1 am (Closed on Sunday).

Address: 120 S Steele St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

Also check out our list of things to do in Morehead City , things to do in Manteo, and things to do in Oak Island, for a fun vacation in North Carolina.

9. Sanford Golf Course

Sanford Golf Course
Credits: Bohbeh / Shutterstock

Sanford Golf Course was designed in 1934 by Donald Ross as a unique golf course with exciting challenges.

The golf course has its fairways lined by pine trees, gorgeous azaleas, a putting green, and remarkable views of Buffalo Creek.

There is a practice bunker and a massive driving range where visitors can test and master their skills. Sanford Golf Course features a snack bar offering guests a wide variety of drinks and snacks.

Sanford Golf Course also features a pro shop that offers an array of golf equipment made by popular brands such as Taylor Made, Ping, Callaway, Foot Joy, and Titleist.

The golf pro shop features gloves, clothes, wedges, shoes, putters, and many other golf accessories for men and women.

Address: 600 Golf Course Lane, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

10. Depot Park

Depot Park
Credits: Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr
Depot Park

Depot Park was established with the vision of providing a place that brings the people of the community together in 1997 in downtown Sanford.

The Park features the Railroad house, depot, and beautiful surrounding areas consisting of picnic tables, fountains, and benches.

Depot Park features an energetic splash fountain where children can cool off on a hot day. Visiting this Park, especially with kids, is undoubtedly one of the many fun things to do in Sanford, NC.

Depot Park consists of an ancient locomotive and a historical museum where children can play and have fun.

The Park organizes free concerts at 7 pm on Thursdays during the summer months featuring different genres of music, including bluegrass, country, and rock. The shows also involve beer dealers and food vendors who offer a wide variety of options.

Address: 106 Charlotte Ave, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

11. Quail Ridge Golf Course

Quail Ridge Golf Course
Credits: Bohbeh / Shutterstock

Founded in 1967, Quail Ridge Golf Course was designed by Ellis Maples. It is located in the Sandhills region.

After going through a series of renovations, Quail Ridge Golf Course reopened in October 2017. This premium Golf Course sits on 6,900 yards with immaculate greens, lush fairways, and rolling hills.

Quail Ridge Golf Course features a practice area with a long-range chipping practice and a massive putting green.

The club also features a locker room, snack bar, and a grill room which you can visit before or after your tee time.

There is a pro shop packed with various golfing apparatus, ensuring that all the materials are in good condition.

Address: 5634 Quail Ridge Dr, Sanford, NC 27332, United States

12. Temple Theatre

Temple Theatre
Credits: Gerry Dincher / Flickr
Temple Theatre

Temple Theatre was originally built in 1925, during the era when the population of Sanford was only three thousand five hundred persons.

This significant non-profit attraction serves as an active cultural center. The proceeds from the center are used to repair and maintain this historic site.

The Theatre is home to several exciting performances, such as Red Clay, Glenn Miller Band, the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, and more.

Temple Theatre offers an intimate setting with only three hundred and thirty-four seats assuring the audience an amazing experience.

The Theatre is uniquely designed with ornately colored walls and trims made of wood on the actual tiled floor.

You will find a massive gold-accented glass chandelier above your head with staircases stretching from the room to a balcony.

Address: 120 Carthage St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

13. The Chocolate Cellar

Chocolate Cellar
Credits: Goncharov_Artem / Shutterstock

You can’t be searching for what to do in Sanford, NC if you haven’t visited The Chocolate Cellar.

The Chocolate Cellar is a family-owned and operated sweet treats store, established by Laura and Carol as a mother & daughter establishment.

They specialize in preparing the finest chocolates. Carol visited France during the summer as a student and returned with her new findings.

Laura and Carol are of the school of thought that enjoying chocolate should go just beyond chewing and tasting. The crafting of chocolates is considered an art that requires passion and a belief in the love and pleasure it can bring.

The Chocolate Cellar has expanded, now involving the entire family; the son is in charge of the Cellar, while the Father manages the wine and beer.

Address: 405 Carthage St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

14. Priority Farm LLC

Priority Farm LLC
Credits: Priority Farm LLC / Facebook
Priority Farm LLC

For lovers of animals, visiting Priority Farm LLC should be on your list of top things to do in Sanford, NC.

Priority Farm LLC was established in 2015 by Jim and Jackey to primarily educate children about a good number of valuable skills and obligations of farming and gardening.

This establishment is a non-profit community farm with twenty-seven acres of land. It is home to a variety of animals and crops.

Visitors get the opportunity to watch and get closer to the animals; they can also go as far as touching or feeding them.

Priority Farm LLC features trails that are open for exploration, plus an educational center and shop, packed with unique souvenirs that serve as a form of remembrance.

Address: 1042 Buckhorn Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

15. O.T. Sloan Park

O.T. Sloan Park
Credits: wellphoto / Shutterstock

O.T. Sloan Park offers visitors access to a fantastic disc golf course that provides both beginners and professionals a fun time.

The Park has a volleyball area, horseshoe pits, and an outdoor pool which is a perfect choice during the hot summer days.

For children visiting the Park, there are two ball fields and a large playground; the Park is also home to the T-Ball complex.

O.T. Sloan Park features ten picnic tables and a shelter available for rentals, plus an area that can contain about one hundred persons.

Address: 1420 Bragg Street Sanford, NC 27330, United States

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16. Tobacco Road Golf Club

Tobacco Road Golf Club
Credits: Mikael Damkier / Shutterstock

Are you a golf fan? Or have you never been to a golf club? Add a visit to Tobacco Road Golf Club to your bucket list of the best things to do in Sanford, NC.

Tobacco Road Golf Club is set on lands previously used to cultivate tobacco, which is also the reason for its name.

The golf course is characterized by rolling terrain and dramatic views. It is known for testing the skills of both learners and professionals.

On the top 100 charts of the world’s best golf courses, Tobacco Road Golf Club was rated #50 by Golf Course Architecture.

Tobacco Road Golf Club was constructed in 1998 by Mike Strantz, a talented architect whose sense of imagination and evolution made him stand out.

Address: 442 Tobacco Rd, Sanford, NC 27332, United States

17. Carolina Trace Country Club

Carolina Trace Country Club
Credits: Yellowj / Shutterstock

If you think you have experienced enough luxury, the moment you walk into Carolina Trace Country Club, you will be blown away.

Carolina Trace Country Club features two outstanding golf courses for higher and lower handicaps designed by Robert Trent Jones.

This club features tennis and swimming facilities, offering breathtaking views of Lake Trace and the surrounding areas.

This enormous facility features everything you might need, such as the State-of-the-art fitness center, golfing facilities, and dining area.

Carolina Trace Country Club is an excellent place for couples, families, and single individuals to spend time and create great memories.

The Lake Trace stretches for three hundred and fifteen acres. It is perfect for fishing, sailing, canoeing, and kayaking.

The lake is home to a wide variety of fish species such as catfish, perch, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, crappie, and more.

Address: 2100 Country Club Dr, Sanford, NC 27332, United States

18. Libations 139

Libations 139
Credits: Marian Weyo / Shutterstock

That moment when you feel exhausted and in need of a place to relax, visiting Libations 139 is recommended.

Libations 139 is a vibrant hub that offers a lively and calm environment for visitors to come in and have a great time.

The bistro has numerous board games where you can engage in friendly competitions with your friends and locals.

They offer the best seasonal cocktails, boutique wines, local craft beers, and an impressive menu carefully crafted by a professional chef.

Libations 139 offers drinks like R & D storm brew, whiner beer bleu tub, tarbobo sandy candy, heretic lager, Ipswich Ale Oatmeal Stout, Bombshell Prickly Pear Sour, and more.

The menu features lobster rolls, sandwiches, salads, gourmet hot dogs, tacos, and many more. Libations 139 is a perfect place for a date night, fun day out, get-togethers, and other gatherings.

Address: 139 Chatham St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

19. A Touch of Tropics Massage

A Touch of Tropics Massage
Credits: Nestor Rizhniak / Shutterstock

A Touch of Tropics Massage is an outstanding spa that is strategically located and pretty easy to spot from afar.

The spa was established in 2012 by a certified Massage Therapist, Joyce, who graduated on the 2nd of November, 2011, in Siler City from Body Therapy Institute.

She offers several essential spa services five days a week. She ensures that all her clients are satisfied and well attended to.

A Touch of Tropics Massage offers deep tissue, Swedish, sports, hot stone, and prenatal massage.

She specializes in massage therapy which reduces persistent musical pain & tension, increases the flexibility of the joints & circulation, and enhances posture.

These massages are highly beneficial and help to reduce anxiety, reduce mental stress & physical fatigue and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Address: 2310 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Sanford, NC 27332, United States

20. A Few Nice Things

A Few Nice Things
Credits: A Few Nice Things, Inc / Facebook
A Few Nice Things

Are you searching for what to do in Sanford, NC? No vacation in Sanford is complete without a visit to A Few Nice Things.

A Few Nice Things, a wonderful store founded in 2004, was established to serve the people in every way possible, offering them the highest quality products without stress.

They offer several kinds of antiques, including jewelry, pottery, glassware, art, furniture, silver, and more.

The store also offers frames, mats, pictures, prints, posters, and other collectibles, including memorabilia.

A Few Nice Things workers are friendly and helpful, always willing to answer every question thrown at them by the visitors.

Address: 121 S Steele St #4233, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

21. Railroad House Historical Society

Railroad House Historical Society
Credits: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
Railroad House Historical Society

The oldest house in Sanford, Railroad House, was constructed in 1872 as the official home for the first-ever Augusta and Raleigh Airline Railroad’s depot agent.

The Railroad House is currently the home of the local museum featuring pictures, documents, artifacts, and other valuable historical items.

This is a one & the half story-building in a Gothic Revival-style cottage with a gable roof characterized by rafter brackets and eaves.

The historic building was relocated to its current location in October 1962, a few blocks from its initial site.

The Railroad House is managed by the Railroad House Historical Society and is open to the public for free. You can make arrangements for a tour where you get to explore the house and other significant sites.

Address: 110 Charlotte Ave, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

22. The Kiwanis Family Park

Kiwanis Family Park
Credits: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock

The Kiwanis Family Park is one of the popular amusement parks amongst many families. The front region of Kiwanis Family Park was given to Sanford city in 2018 by the Lee County Government.

The Kiwanis Family Park features an enormous meadow with a gigantic playground featuring numerous exciting play equipment.

The Park consists of open picnic areas, a shaded shelter, and a gazebo where many can hang out and enjoy a meal together.

A brand new playground was launched in September 2019 with the first splash pad in the city of Sanford.

The Kiwanis Family Park’s covered shelter features several picnic tables, water, electricity, charcoal, and seats accommodating about one hundred people.

You will also find a walking trail of half a mile and volleyball nets with modern bathroom facilities for everyone.

Address: 1800 Wicker Street Sanford, NC 27332, United States

23. Matilda’s Coffee

Credits: Bojan Pesic / Shutterstock

Matilda’s Coffee is a humble, family-owned, and operated coffee shop. Matilda’s Coffee has been in business for a long time, consistently offering the public a variety of options.

They are always critical about their organic coffee beans, including other essential dietary options.

The shop offers lactose-free and sugar-free options for everybody to pick from, so they get to experience a feeling of satisfaction when they sip from their cup.

Matilda’s Coffee menu offers several flavors of waffles, including whip cream, peaches, bananas, strawberries, chocolate, mangos, honey, and more.

They offer various flavors of drinks such as smoothies, chai drinks, acai drinks, acai bowls, matcha, espresso drinks, coffee drinks, and more.

Address: 3078 S Horner Blvd, Sanford, NC 27332, United States

24. Hugger Mugger Brewing Company

Hugger Mugger Brewing Company
Credits: Nejron Photo / Shutterstock

Hugger Mugger means hidden and is one of the many words formed by Shakespeare. 

This concept is ideal for a city well known for Masonic influence. This brewery celebrates the hidden through symbol-filled tapestries decorating the walls of the beer hall or skulls and bones imagery. 

The least hidden aspect of Hugger Mugger Brewery is the people who own it: David McComas & Tim Emmert. 

David & Tim’s love for craft beers is shown through the wide repertoire of craft beer styles for patrons with different palates. The brewery building is designed to carry a large crowd and has a beer hall. 

It also has a front bar of 20 taps and an outdoor beer garden where food trucks are set up every night. 

Hugger Mugger’s Beer Hall has a family and kid-friendly environment, and if you love beer, you need to check this place out. 

Address: 229 Wicker St, Sanford, NC 27330, United States

25. Endor Iron Furnace Trail Greenway 

Endor Iron Furnace Trail Greenway 
Credits: Creative Cat Studio / Shutterstock

The Endor Iron Furnace Greenway is a 1.43-mile ideal for running, walking, and biking. This paved trail leads from Carbonton Road to Boone Circle. 

The Greenway is open from sunrise until sunset throughout the year. Trash receptacles, markers, and benches are placed along the trail. 

Endor Iron Furnace Greenway is not lighted. Ensure to check it out.

Address: Sanford, NC 27330, United States

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Plan Your Trip to Sanford

Sanford is a North Carolina city that speaks volumes about the magnificence and glamour of the state. Sanford has everything, starting with entertainment, adventure, dining, games, sports, history, and more.

The experience you will get from this city will make you want to visit again. A memorable vacation awaits you and your loved ones in Sanford, so start planning your trip.

Have a fun trip!