I play almost always play Goal-plot adventures, but It seems like lots of people still enjoy sandbox. So I am interested to see the blend & preferences of what everyone enjoys.
I said a mix of sandbox and plot/goal, but see, I think that's a deceptive choice.
In a plot driven game, Fred the Farmer actually comes to the PCs, and makes them an offer of 1 sp per rat tail they hunt. Nobody mentions the ghost-ruins because the PCs aren't high enough level to handle them, and the only thing they hear about bandits are a few rumors (the DM intends to let them find out where the bandit hideout is NEXT time, after they level up).
The only thing wrong with the first scenario is that the PCs might be unsure which adventure they're capable of handling. In this case, having farmer Fred step up and make his offer after the PCs dither a little can help keep the game moving smoothly. But if the PCs don't take his offer, they can still have fun trying other options.
Plot and goals will grow organically from the sandbox; the PCs will also likely feel more ownership of the game that way. However, they do have to make critical decisions, sometimes with scant information, so it can be frightening rather than exhilarating to some people.