The sand: Three and a half miles of white-sand beaches on a long hook of land, separated from the mainland by the mouth of the Ogunquit River
Marine life: Lobster? Ach, you can find that anywhere in Maine. But only in a few select spots along the state's 5,500 miles of rocky coastline will you find actual soft, bottom-inviting sand, and that's outside the hamlet of Ogunquit. To avoid the traffic of crustacean-seeking crowds, you'll also want to ditch the car. Snag a parking spot at Footbridge Bridge early in the morning ($15 for the day) and take the trolley back into town for blueberry pancakes at Bessie's. Then stroll with a cup of coffee through the galleries and too-cute shops. Cross back over at Ogunquit Beach to find the spot you've staked in the sand. Then you're free of obligations until your dinner reservation at Ogunquit's acclaimed Arrows Restaurant. It goes beyond typical beach fare, serving foie gras-and-oxtail dumplings, sea salt–roasted rabbit loin, and mango bubble pudding. And, yeah, Maine lobster, too.
The sanctuary: Book one of the 19 cottages at Dunes on the Waterfront: They have screened porches and Adirondack chairs just 200 yards from the main beach.