Sanford is located at 35°28'45" North, 79°10'50" West (35.479444, -79.180556).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.15 mi2 (62.55 km2). 24.07 mi2 (62.34 km2) of it is land and 0.08 mi2 (0.21 km2) of it is covered by water. The total area is 0.34% water.
Sanford is located in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) timezone, GMT-05:00. It observes Daylight Saving Time (DST).