They drive down from Canada. They come by busloads from across New England. They hail from as far away as Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, on their way to local beaches and other vacation destinations.

The 120 factory outlets here along Route 1 attract 3.5 million shoppers each year, mostly during July and August, according to Lynn Smith, marketing director for the Kittery Outlets.

Among the shoppers are Tracy Flannery and her son, Matt, of Wilton, Conn., who have come here for years. It started when he was a boy on his way to Camp Belknap on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Now, he’s a 20-year-old camp counselor and college student, and still they stop for bargains.

“It’s something to do and it’s convenient,” Tracy Flannery said after shopping at the J. Crew and Ralph Lauren outlets.

The one-mile outlet area started developing around 1980, lured by large open land tracts just off Interstate 95 and a strong retail tradition established by the iconic Kittery Trading Post.

“We’re the anchor of the outlets, much like L.L.Bean is in Freeport,” said Kim Adams, co-owner of the trading post and a son of founder Philip “Bing” Adams.

Newer outlets include Lucky Brand Jeans, Under Armour and Charlotte Russe.