Air travel: The Portland International Jetport (tel. 207-874-8877, airport code PWM) is Maine's largest airport. It is served by several major airlines including Continental (tel. 800-523-3273; www.continental.com); JetBlue (800-538-2583; www.jetblue.com); AirTran (tel. 800-247-8726; www.airtran.com); Delta (tel. 800-221-1212; www.delta.com); United (tel. 800-864-8331; www.ual.com); and U.S. Airways (tel. 800-428-4322; www.usairways.com).
Car: Heading north, Portland is best reached by taking exit 44 off the Maine Turnpike (I-95). Afterwards, follow I-295 into the city. Take Exit 7, the Franklin Arterial, continue straight uphill and downhill until you arrive at the city's ferry terminal. Make a right turn onto Commercial Street to parking meters and the visitor center on the right.
Train: Amtrak (tel. 800/872-7245; www.amtrak.com) runs its Downeaster train daily from Boston's North Station to Portland (passengers from other cities must take the T - Boston's subway service - from South Station to North Station). There are four to five round-trips daily, for about $23 one-way. Downtown is accessible by bus or a 30- to 45-minute walk from the station.
Bus: Concord Coach (tel. 800/639-3317 or 207/828-1151; www.concordcoachlines.com) and Vermont Transit (tel. 800/552-8737 or 207/772-6587; www.vermonttransit.com) travel to Portland from Bangor and Boston. The Vermont Transit bus terminal can be found at 950 Congress St. Concord Trailways is slightly more expensive but has nice touches such as movies and headsets; its terminal is at Thompson Point Road (a 35-min. walk from downtown), but it is served by city buses and taxis.
Portland Visitor Information: The Convention and Visitor's Bureau of Greater Portland, 245 Commercial St., Portland, ME 04101 (tel. 207/772-5800 or 207/772-4994; www.visitportland.com), offers plenty of booklets and brochures for visitors seeking to explore Portland. In addition, the bureau's staff is more than pleased to provide insights about lodging, entertainment and attractions, and restaurants. It is open year-round, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and shorter hours on Saturday, depending on the season. Three additional tourist kiosks can also be located around the city: one is situated at the Portland International Jetport (tel. 207/775-5809), open daily until 10:30pm; one in Deering Oaks Park near the Forest Avenue exit off I-295, open at least six days a week year-round; and one at the cruise ship terminal on Commercial Street, which is open for 4 hours after any cruise ship arrives. Portland also has a free weekly newspaper, the Portland Phoenix, offering good listings of local events, films, nightclub performances, and the like. Copies are widely available at restaurants, bars, and convenience stores.
York: This seaside community is at the heart of the Southern Maine Beaches region. It is conveniently located about 1 1/2 hours north of Boston.
Directions to York (by car): 95 North to Exit 7 (ME-91) on the Maine Turnpike (which is also 95 North). Turn left off the exit ramp onto Route 1 North and take several miles into York (note: Wells and Ogunquit, also popular summer destinations, are also accessible by this route; Kittery, Portsmouth, NH, and the Berwicks are accessible by turning right off the exit ramp and taking Route 1 South).
Directions to York (by train): Amtrak's Downeaster train service (tel. 800/872-7245; www.amtrak.com) also makes a stop in Wells which is about 3 miles south of York on Route 1
York Visitor Information: Among the best sources for tourist information is the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce, 1 Stonewall Lane, York, ME 03909 (tel. 207-363-4422; www.gatewaytomaine.org).
Kennebunk and Kennebunkport: Another popular southern Maine seaside vacation spot. The Kennebunks are located about 1 hour and 45 minutes north of Boston.
Directions to Kennebunks (by car): Route 95 North to Maine Turnpike (95 North). Take Exit 25. Turn left onto ME-35. Turn right onto ME-9A into Kennebunk and then Kennebunkport.
Kennebunks Visitor Information: Among the best sources for tourist information is the Kennebunk Chamber of Commerce, 17 Western Avenue, Kennebunk, ME 04043-7781 (tel. 207-967-0857; www.visitthekennebunks.com).
Old Orchard Beach: Located just south of Portland, this shoreline destination features of plenty of arcades and amusement rides for great family fun. It is located about 2 hours north of Boston.
Directions to Old Orchard Beach (by car): 95 North to Maine Turnpike (95 North). Take Exit 36 onto I-195 to Saco and Old Orchard Beach.
Directions to Old Orchard Beach (by train): Amtrak's Downeaster train service (tel. 800/872-7245; www.amtrak.com) also makes a stop at the Old Orchard Beach train station on 1st Street.
Old Orchard Beach Visitor Information: Among the best sources for tourist information is the Chamber of Commerce of Old Orchard Beach, 11 1st Street, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064-2678 (tel. 207-934-2500; www.oldorchardbeachmaine.com).