Culture & Recreation

View from below a pendelum fair ride. Credit: Ahmod Goins

Sanford, North Carolina

Fun for All Ages

Sanford’s central location offers the best of all worlds, with vibrant cities, gorgeous beaches and majestic mountains less than a three-hour drive away. However, Sanford and Lee County residents don’t have to travel far for quality recreation, as the community itself boasts a vibrant arts scene, year-round festivals, and endless outdoor options.

Anchored by robust local parks and recreation programs and infrastructure, Sanford and Lee County offer a broad range of recreational and leisure opportunities dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all Lee County residents and fostering a sense of community. Family parks, walking & bike trails, outdoor education programs, adult and youth recreational activities and sports for all ages are just a few activities to enjoy in Sanford.

Fast Facts

40K+ Visitors

annually at Temple Theatre

Source: Guidestar

Theater building with copper-like sign. Credit: Ahmod Goins

Fast Facts

17+ Miles

Of bike and hiking trails at San-Lee Park

Source: Lee County Parks and Recreation

Two people walking down trail with two dogs. Credit: Ahmod Goins

Enjoyment Takes Center Stage

The culture of Sanford, N.C., is rich and vibrant, and its art scene is no exception. Catch a star-studded musical or theatrical performance at Temple Theatre, dubbed Carolina’s Center for the Performing Arts. The 1920’s venue is a designated national landmark, providing an inspiring setting for young theatre artists and renowned performers alike.

The Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra is another prized artistic endeavor of Sanford. Since its inception 25 years ago as a community jazz ensemble formed to share a love of the art, the Orchestra has become a dynamic musical force delighting and enlightening thousands across the state.

View of Temple Theater from outside. Credit: Ahmod Goins

Fun in the Sun

Enjoying quality outdoor R&R is easy in Sanford, especially considering the great year-round weather. Golfers can enjoy pine-lined fairways while following in the footsteps of legends at one of Sanford and Lee County’s five outstanding courses, including one of the nation’s top public courses. Bike or hike through North Carolina’s gorgeous scenery on the 177-acre San-Lee Park or test your skills paddle boarding or kayaking at Deep River Park.

Weekends are best spent at the nearby Jordan Lake, which spreads over 1,400 acres of crystalline waters. With nine recreation areas offered, opportunities for camping, fishing, boating, or swimming are aplenty. For a more adventurous activity, check out a motocross track at the Devil’s Ridge, home of the North Carolina State championships, or test your aim at Deep River Sporting Clays, host to the premier Southern Side by Side Championship and Exhibition.


Always a Reason to Celebrate

Vibrant festivals and fun events for the whole family happen year-round in Sanford. Downtown Sanford StreetFest & Fireworks is a signature event for Sanford that draws thousands to downtown to celebrate with music, performances, vendors, brews, and food.

Another cherished annual celebration is Broadway Our Way. From funnel cakes to fantastic music by favorite local bands, this festival is just the way families like it: friendly and fun.

Person seasoning a large batch of popcorn. Credit: Ahmod Goins