A beach-lover’s utopia, the South Coast region more than doubles its population in summer—and for good reason. Its shoreline is peppered with craggy beaches boasting soft sand and unforgettable sunsets, nature preserves, and bird and wildlife sanctuaries.
But there are plenty of manmade reasons to visit, too. The area was originally settled not two decades after The Mayflower hit Plymouth Rock , and that shows in its pervasive sense of history, from Kennebunkport’s  17th-century homes to Kittery’s  old naval museums. More modern treasures are abundant, too, from Kennebunk’s clam shacks  to the antiques shops of Wells , cafés and top-notch restaurants of Ogunquit , and bargain outlets of Kittery .
From June through October, the region’s streets get congested with vacationing families and urbanites; the best times to soak up the area’s pleasures are in early to mid-autumn.
To drive to Maine’s  south coast from Boston , take I-93 to I-95 north. The Maine border at Kittery  is 60 miles (1 hr. from Boston). Continue north along I-95 to exit 7 for York  (10 mi., 15 min.) or exit 19 for Wells  (20 mi., 25 min.). Ogunquit  is located on Route 1 halfway between York and Wells; you can use either exit from the highway.
Most towns have local trolley service (usually costing several dollars each way) to the major tourist points. In York, The New England Trolley Company (207/363-9600, www.yorktrolley.com ) runs sightseeing buses on a continuous loop every day in summer and fall. Stops are made at Nubble Light and Long Sands Bath House, among others. Trolleys also run throughout summer days in Ogunquit, from Main Beach to Perkins Cove , and many stops in between.