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Often overshadowed by its glitzier neighbours, Sanford sits on the shores of Lake Monroe, midway between Daytona Beach and Orlando. It offers a different, more traditional, perspective of Florida, with waterfront parks, Spanish moss and a more refined pace of life.
Sanford is warm all year round, with temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C and rising to well over 30°C in summer. The most popular time to visit is in early spring. Due Sanford's proximity to Orlando cheap flights can be hard to come by during peak times. The busiest months are December (when the Christmas parade is a big draw) and February to April.
The summer months can be hot and sticky, and cyclone season runs from June to November, but the crowds still flock in during high summer.
Autumn is a good time to visit Sanford, with fewer tourists and cooler weather.
Sanford’s location near Florida’s tourist hotspots means that demand for flights can be high. But with a little planning and some flexibility it is possible to find a cheap flight.
Orlando Sanford International has charter flights from several UK airports over the summer months, but there are flights to Florida’s other major airports in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville all year round – and they are all within driving distance. Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option to check alternative departure and arrival points.
The ‘Show flexible dates’ option can also help find cheap fares to Sanford, by comparing prices on different days of the week.
To filter results by criteria including duration, cost, airline and ticket type, use the buttons on the left of the search results or the ‘Show options’ menu.
Optimal flight times from UK airports to Orlando Sanford include:
Orlando Sanford Airport is four miles southeast of the city: it is a relative minnow by Florida standards, with only three million passengers a year (much of whom are domestic).
There are two terminals with shopping, dining facilities and duty free. There are nine car rental companies on site.
Thirty miles further south lies the much larger Orlando International, with 44 million passengers a year. It is just a 40-minute drive to Sanford. Tampa International Airport is just a 90-minute drive from the city.
Tui Airways flies direct from UK airports to Orlando Sanford during the summer, but many other airlines fly direct from the UK to Orlando International, Tampa International and other major airports in Florida that are within driving distance.
Sanford has a limited public transport service and there are no buses from the airport to the city, but taxis are plentiful. You can also get to the city by rail as Sanford is the terminus of the Amtrak line from Virginia.
The best way to navigate the area is by car, and hiring a vehicle gives you the freedom to explore beyond the city.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a delightful place to spend the day. Alongside the animal attractions, with everything from rhinos to insects, and well-kept grounds there are zip lines, bubble rides and a splash park.
The relaxing Sanford River Walk winds along the banks of Lake Monroe and connects the downtown area to the zoo. It stops off at many of the city's main attractions, including parks and museums, but is worth a visit in its own right.
Find time to visit the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery, a local institution that hosts exhibitions all year round showcasing local and international artists.
Embrace the fact that you have escaped the whirlwind of Orlando and take time to enjoy Sanford’s peaceful parks and the pretty 19th century downtown architecture.