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Sanford, Michigan Parks, Trails, Restaurants, Attractions & More

Located on beautiful Lake Sanford and less than 10 miles from Midland, Sanford offers recreational opportunities year-round. Biking, hiking, boating, swimming, and cross-country skiing are the many ways to play and enjoy the outdoors in the Sanford area.

Public Parks

Sanford Lake Park is a great place to get wet, have some fun, and simply relax. The park features a long sandy swimming beach and splash playground for kids. Two sand volleyball courts near the beach are popular during the summer, and the park's ample supply of picnic tables offer relaxing spots to enjoy beautiful views of Sanford Lake. Away from the beach and under the shade of tall trees, the park has a couple of picnic shelters and a nice playground. An admission booth is located at the entrance of the park and a fee is required to enter Sanford Lake Park.

On the eastern shore of the Tittabawassee River, Sanford Park features five baseball diamonds, a soccer field, horeshoe pits, a volleyball court and basketball court. Kids enjoy the parks nice playscapes and swingsets, which are located near the drive into the park. A large pavillion is on the northwest side of the park, and a smaller picnic shelter is located near the boat launch. A dam regulates the flow of water from Sanford Lake into the Tittabawassee River, and the area around the base of the dam is very popular with fishermen, who either wade into the river to fly fish or stand on the banks to cast their lines.

Pere Marquette Trail

The Pere Marquette Trail is a former railroad route that stretches from Midland to Baldwin (with a gap in the trail in Clare). The paved section from Clare to Sanford and Midland is very popular with cyclists, joggers, and walkers, who enjoy the scenic views and smooth trail surface. Sanford has two parking areas with easy access to the Pere Marquette Trail.

Near the center of town, on the corner of Maple and Railroad, the Sanford Staging Area has modern restroom facilities that are easily accessible from the trail. An historical marker about State Salt Well No. 1 and a marker describing the significance of the "W" signs along the trail are near the trail and provide for some interesting facts.

On the southwest corner of Saginaw Road and Smith Street, there is a parking lot with a four-hour parking limit. The Pere Marquette Trail passes just past the southern edge of the parking lot.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Sanford Lake and the Tittabawassee River are conveniently located near downtown Sanford and attract boaters and fishermen to the area from May through September. Sanford Lake Park's boat launch provides access to Sanford Lake for recreational boats and fishing boats, while small boats, canoes and kayaks primarily use the Tittabawassee River boat launch at Sanford Park.


Sanford Lake is favorite spot for catching muskies, and the lake has been known to have larger ones than other lakes in the region. Baits that imitate suckers seem to have the best luck for catching a muskie.

Fishermen also like to cast their lines into the Tittabawassee River from the river banks near Sanford Park and the dam. The Tittabawassee River is known for trout, bass, other species. Many anglers prefer to catch and release fish from the Tittabawassee River, especially downriver from Midland, because of dioxins and other contaminents that have been found in the river.

A valid fishing license is required to fish on Michigan lakes and waterways. You can get a license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site and at bait shops and sporting goods stores.

About Sanford

Sanford's city center is located along Saginaw Road, near the Tittabawassee River. A hardware store, ice cream shop, and a handful of other business are in downtown. Further to the southeast on Saginaw Road, you'll find a Dollar General near the Sanford Chamber of Commerce and a Food Pride Grocery Store on the corner of Meridian Road. Sanford has a few family-owned eateries on Saginaw Road, including TJ's Pizza and Alex's Railside Restaurant.

Sanford's Village Offices and Senior Center are located along the drive into Sanford Park.

View photos of Sanford Lake Park, Sanford Park, Pere Marquette Trail, and much more.


Sanford Area Maps
Download maps of parks, trails, restaurants and other locations around Sanford, Michigan.
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