A shipbuilding center beginning in the 17th century, the Kennebunks (the official name for the towns of Kennebunkport , Cape Porpoise, Goose Rocks Beach, and Kennebunk) have since enjoyed an affair with prosperity that has hardly diminished. The area’s reputation as a summer playground for well-to-do sailing fiends and families is not undeserved, as any stroll to the beach or wharf will prove.
But the towns are also home to a dedicated population of year-round residents—collectively a population of about 14,000—who make sure the historic homes and sights of the area are kept in excellent shape, and keep the communities themselves a vital place to be any month of the year.
For Kennebunkport, take exit 25 off I-95 and drive east on Route 9A (10 mi., 15 min. from Wells). For Old Orchard Beach  take exit 36 to I-195 east (25 mi., 30 min. from Wells). For Saco, also take exit 36 to I-195 east but then take exit 2A to Route 1 south (20 mi., 25 min. from Wells).
The Kennebunks operate trolleys through Intown Trolley (207/967-3638, www.intowntrolley.com , $15 adult, $5 children 3–17, free children under 3, $25 couples) all around Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and their beaches, on a narrated 50-minute loop; fares are good for one whole day, making this a useful option if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing. Shuttle-Bus (207/282-5408, www.shuttlebus-zoom.com ) operates buses between and around Saco and Old Orchard Beach, among other points on the Southern Coast. Fares and schedules vary.