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101 Things Humboldt County

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Modern Meets Rural Beauty


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The town of McKinleyville sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean between the Mad and Little Rivers, with tree-covered mountains as a backdrop. The surrounding rural beauty only enhances what lies within. The town's motto “Where the horses have the right of way,” gives a hint about McKinleyville residents' leisurely attitude and enthusiasm for the outdoors. Dwellings vary from affordable apartments to stately ocean-view homes. The Eureka-Arcata Airport, which in fact is located in northern McKinleyville, serves as the air gateway to Humboldt County and home base for the Coast Guard's Air Rescue Team.

Downtown, thriving businesses line Central Avenue offering dining and commercial services. The McKinleyville Shopping Center includes a nice selection of shops and also features a 160-ft. tall totem pole, the tallest totem pole in the world carved from a single tree, and the second tallest carved from any number.

In late May and early June the entire community turns out for Pony Express Days, a five-day celebration that includes parades, picnics, cook-offs, dancing and more. It's been going strong for more than 45 years.

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