Sanford, Florida is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. A phenomenal historic downtown area is totally walkable. Plus there are many things to do in Sanford and date ideas around the area. Dinner cruises, marshmallow workshops, horseback trail rides, craft beer tours, zip line adventures, and more. Here are 35 date night ideas to explore!
Updated May 2023 by Terri Peters
35 Things to Do in Sanford
1. Take a craft beer tour
Have you ever wondered about the history of craft beer in Historic Downtown Sanford? Or the story behind the district’s popular craft breweries? The Sanford Craft Beer & History Tour covers all that and more! Sanford Brew & History Tour is led by regarded beer aficionado and BJCP Certified Beer Judge, Gary Holmes. Tours start at 3:00 pm and last at least 90 minutes.
The craft beer tour costs $29 per person and beer samples are included. Everyone on the tour must be 21 and up to participate in this tour. A valid government-issued ID is required as proof of age.
2. Take a tour with Limo Cycle
Limo Cycle is pure fun on wheels and a great way to spend the weekend or evening with other couples.
3. Learn Sanford's history on a tour
Follow in the footsteps of Sanford's great history. Downtown Sanford History & Architectural Tour offers a variety of tours. Each tour is led by a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide. And considering the amount of cool information you'll learn, each tour is pretty affordable. The Downtown Sanford Historical Tour is $22.00 per person and is an active, fascinating look into the town's history.
You'll get to see a side of downtown Sanford you probably had no idea existed.
4. Get a little spooky on the Sanford Ghost Tour
If thrills and chills are more your speed then consider the Sanford Ghost Tour from Historic Downtown Sanford Tours & Experiences. This tour is also $25 per person, but puts a whole different spin on Sanford's history. After all, a town that is 150 years old is bound to have some spirits stirring around. It's definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Sanford.
6. Work together at Escape Artists
Find clues, solve riddles and get caught in the moment as you work together to escape! All rooms are private so you'll have a great time working together without any distractions.
DISCOVER MORE: Orlando Escape Rooms
7. Indulge in handcrafted marshmallows and ice cream
Venture to the Wondermade cafe in Sanford for the widest range of Wondermade marshmallows and ice creams, including some flavors only sold in store. There are so many unique ways to satisfy your sweet tooth here.
8. Brew your own beer
Sanford Homebrew Shop offers classes on everything from cheese-making to making your own beer at home, so we're sure you'll find something to make for a fun and unique date night.
Plus, there is a taproom in the store so you can try the fresh beer from the expert brewers.
Prices vary depending on class
9. Stargaze at the planetarium at Seminole State College
The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College hosts weekly shows exploring the night sky.
While the planetarium recently closed for an extensive reimagining of the space, it started re-opening for limited shows in April 2023 and plans for a grand re-opening in the fall.
9. Stroll, jog, or bike the Sanford Riverwalk
What makes Sanford so special is its location along Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River. It is this waterfront location that attracted settlers to build here, making it a massive destination for shopping and trade. Come see the waterways for yourself along the Sanford Riverwalk. It is nearly five miles long and one of the best things to do in Sanford and accessible in downtown Sanford as well as near the Central Florida Zoo.
10. Go zip lining at the Central Florida Zoo
Calling all adventure lovers! Zip lining at Seminole Aerial Adventures is the perfect date night for you. You do not need to pay admission to the zoo to enjoy this adventure. Reservations are best since there are only so many timeslots each day, available online.
11. Stroll the botanical gardens of the Central Florida Zoo
Zoo hours, 9am – 4pm daily
If you're looking for classic things to do in Sanford, the Central Florida Zoo should be near the top. This zoo is more than just a place to see fascinating animals. It is built among a beautiful stretch of wetlands. The flowers and plantlife that surround the zoo are worth a visit if you enjoy the beauty of nature.
Recommendation: If you visit during the holiday season then tickets to the Asian Lantern Festival are a must!
12. Cruise and dine on Lake Monroe
Cruise the historic St. Johns River aboard an authentic sternwheel paddleboat. St. Johns Rivership Co. invites you to see the real Florida while dining, drinking and dancing to live music.
13. Spend a day/night on a house boat
Spend the evening on the town and come “home” to this beautiful floating bungalow on the St. Johns River.
14. Check out happenings at the Ritz Theater
Snuggle up to your honey at the Ritz Theater at Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center and catch a classic movie or attend a live show.
15. Enjoy a park in the historic Sanford neighborhood
If you have kids along with you, one of the best things to do in Sanford is to go to Park on Park. While most families flock to Fort Mellon Park along the water in downtown Sanford, Park on Park is a quieter park with more shade.
Plus, it is surrounded by the gorgeous historic homes of Sanford. You might think you're in Savannah, Georgia for a brief moment as you drive the tree-lined streets with incredible historic homes all around.
The playground is sure to be popular with your kiddos. And, if you don't have kids along with you, visit Park on Park for the precious and beautiful butterfly garden.
16. Browse the Magnolia Square Market for delicious German groceries
If you've ever been to Sanford before you have probably heard all about Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe. The treasured German restaurant is a landmark of downtown Sanford, and right around the corner is the Magnolia Square Market, owned by the same family.
Walk in to browse the shelves of colorful German candies and delicious groceries imported direct from Germany. There is also a deli counter where you can order fresh meat as well as made-to-order sandwiches. A cooler in the back offers a variety of imported German beer that you can enjoy in-store or out on the patio.
17. Heat things up at Spice is Nice
If you've ever wondered why people are so fascinated with hot sauce, this is the place to learn. Dino Ferri is the Owner of Spice Is Nice store in downtown Sanford. “I love everything about Sanford, especially that you can walk everywhere. It's so walkable!” he explained to us as we visited during the store's opening weeks.
Don't worry if you're just not that into hot sauce. Pop in for a visit to Spice is Nice anyhow. You can sample just about 100 different hot sauces, and Dino cares more about actual flavor rather than heat. And there is a large variety of gourmet goodies to browse too.
Bonus! Magpies Modern General Store is right next to Spice is Nice. Stop in here to browse a variety of local goods as well as unique gifts that are environmentally friendly.
18. Experience an intimate horseback ride for two at Hidden Palms Ranch
Enjoy a beautiful and relaxing ride as you enjoy the scenery on this trail ride through the beautiful Lake Jesup Conservation Area.
19. Embark on a food hall crawl at Henry's Depot
Located on the site of a historic train station, Henry's Depot is a fantastic destination for a food crawl. There are multiple food vendors, including some of the best seafood in the Orlando area at The Current Seafood Counter. Plus, a wonderful Florida-themed bar called The Basin sits in the back of the food hall so you can enjoy a handcrafted cocktail with your food crawl.
20. Enjoy an intimate dinner for two at The Tennessee Truffle.
Perhaps the most romantic restaurant in Sanford is The Tennessee Truffle. Every single item on the menu is farm fresh and made from scratch. Sanford locals swear by this place, and rightfully so.
Reservations are highly recommended.
Plus you can actually rent out the entire restaurant just for you and your sweetheart! That's right, you get the entire restaurant to yourselves, with a personalized menu designed around you and your sweetheart.
A perfect way to celebrate your next special occasion.
- 6 – 8 course meal, fully customized based on preferences (arranged in advance)
- Entire restaurant space for two
- Choose from a beer or wine pairing
- Private dinners will be held Sunday through Wednesday
- $750 before tax and gratuity (included personalized multi-course dinner with beverage pairing)
The Tennessee Truffle is also available for larger groups and parties with a food/beverage minimum. For details, pricing and reservations, call (407) 942-3977.
21. The District
Hand crafted new American cuisine
112 W. 2nd Street
22. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe
205 E First Street
23. The Old Jailhouse
113 Palmetto Avenue
24. Fuel BBQ
120 South Park Avenue
25. The Breezeway
112 E 1st St.
26. Angel's Soul food & BBQ
Classic Soul Food and Southern BBQ
2516 Sanford Ave
27. Shantell's Just Until
Incredible Soul Food
503 Sanford Ave
28. The Yardery
A marvelous all-outdoor dining restaurant and bar
415 E 4th Street
Where to Drink – Sanford Bars
NEW on the scene – The Wildflower is now open in Sanford! Hailing from Baldwin Park, the Sanford location is sure to be a hit!
29. The Imperial at Washburn Imports
116 E 1st St
30. Go Western at Wild Wild West End Saloon
One of the popular things to do in downtown Sanford has long been to hang out at West End Trading Company. These same owners expanded right next door at the Wild Wild West End Saloon. This modern country-themed bar is a whole lot of fun.
And the outdoor patio is a great hang-out spot, complete with delicious food from The Joint at West End. Check out the cute details while you're there, like the horseshoes on the fence.
31. Celery City
114 S Palmetto Ave
32. Wop's Hops
419 S Sanford Ave
33. Brix and Mortar Winery
117 S Palmetto Ave
34. Suffering Bastard Tiki Bar – a MUST visit
200 South Myrtle Ave
This authentic tiki bar is tucked inside Tuffy's Bottle Shop. Space is limited so get there early or set expectations for a wait, or tables can also be reserved online in advance.
35. Loggerhead Distillery
124 W 2nd St
Technically this is not a bar, but Loggerhead Distillery is a must visit. Pick up a bottle of handcrafted spirits like Sweet Tea Vodka or Key Lime Gin. During special events, some cocktails are served at the distillery.
Check out our guide to budget-friendly dates in Sanford too!
Feature image credit: authenticflorida.com