Established in 1870 as a planned community – complete with a grid of streets that included many full blocks as community green space – Sanford is one of the region’s older cities, with a historic downtown right along the St. Johns River. Sanford once served as a final destination for steamships coming up the north-flowing St. Johns from Jacksonville, since the extensive marshes just upriver proved too shallow for most boat traffic.
The city itself extends far beyond its original boundaries to encompass a large piece of Seminole County along the river, towards its confluence with the Wekiva River to the north and to Lake Jesup to the east. As a great deal of river floodplain has been set aside as natural lands, residents have a surprising variety of destinations to explore on foot and by bike. Paddlers do ply Lake Monroe, but the Wekiva River is far more popular and reachable from two put-ins at parks off SR 46.
Using Beck Ranch Park as our launch point for a cycling adventure in Osteen, we discovered how easy it was to stitch together the local network of bike paths into a pleasant ride, with the Osteen Diner right at hand for lunch.
We launched a new full-color edition of 50 Hikes in Central Florida at the National Trails Festival in Deland the first weekend of October. Take a peek inside.