Sanford is a city in Lee County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 28,518 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lee County.
Sanford is located at the center of Lee County at 35°28′33″N 79°10′32″W (35.475881, −79.175463). It is 42 miles (68 km) southwest of Raleigh, the state capital, 57 miles (92 km) southeast of Greensboro, and 36 miles (58 km) northwest of Fayetteville.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.3 square miles (75.9 km2), of which 29.1 square miles (75.3 km2) are land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km2), or 0.88%, are water. Little Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the Deep River, flows northward through the center of the city. Big Buffalo Creek flows through the west side of the city, and the entire city is part of the Cape Fear River watershed. Lick Creek and its tributaries drain the east side of the city.
As of the census of 2009, there were 29,922 people, which was a 28.9% increase from 2000. The population density was 1243 people per square mile (372.5/km2).