In 1890, Sale became a river port due to the construction of a man-made canal linking the town centre with the Gippsland Lakes and the open sea via the Thomson River. The historic Port of Sale has been preserved and redeveloped with extensive berthing facilities, a boardwalk, fishing platform, boat ramp and BBQ facilities. Adjacent to the port precinct is the Gippsland Art Gallery, council offices and the town's performing arts centre.
Sale has an attractive commercial centre. It extends along Raymond Street and into intersecting Cunninghame Street, part of which is a pedestrian mall that is dominated by a large clock tower.
Several historic buildings of interest can be found in Sale's town centre including the former municipal offices in Foster Street (built in 1863) which are now home to the Sale Historical Museum which showcases local history and artefacts. The Criterion Hotel, located in York Street, is one of the oldest hotels in Gippsland, having been built in 1865. In addition, there are several historic church and school buildings.
Near the corner of Foster Street and York Street are the Lake Guthridge Parklands which cover over 35 hectares. There are two lakes within the park - Lake Guthridge and the smaller Lake Guyatt. Adjacent to the lakes are sporting facilities, playgrounds, parkland, pathways and the Sale Botanic Gardens which were established in 1860.
The nearby 308 hectare Sale Common State Game Refuge, accessed via the road south to Longford, offers visitors the opportunity to observe wildlife in extensive marsh and grassland areas.
The historic Swing Bridge is located around 5 kilometres south of Sale, off the South Gippsland Highway north of Longford. This 45 metre long wrought-iron structure was built in 1883 and spans the La Trobe River at the Thomson River junction. Its design allowed the bridge to swing open to allow steam boats travelling between the Port of Sale and Melbourne to pass through during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The bridge is now open to pedestrians only.
Around 20 kilometres north-east of Sale, via Bengworden Road, is Marlay Point on the western shores of Lake Wellington. There are picnic facilities overlooking a strip of sandy shoreline, a jetty, boat ramp and yacht club.
Sale is the gateway to a number of attractions along the southern part of the Ninety Mile Beach. The small towns of Seaspray and Golden Beach directly front the pristine coastline, while Loch Sport is situated on a peninsula wedged between Lake Victoria and the ocean of Bass Strait.