Matt Villano

Contributing Writer, Via

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California with more than 20 years of experience.

Featured Publications

He has written for outlets including CNN Travel, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, AFAR, TIME, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and the San Francisco Chronicle to name a few.


Northern lights above the trees in Fairbanks, Alaska.

7 Places to See the Northern Lights in the U.S. and Beyond

Witness the stunning aurora borealis at one of these spots.
San Gregorio State Beach at sunset, Half Moon Bay, California.

Celebrate Fall in Half Moon Bay, CA

About a half-hour south of San Francisco, a farming and fishing community comes to life in autumn.
Stairs leading to the beach at sunset at Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach, California

Best Tide Pools Around the West

The Pacific Coast teems with tide pools and little critters waiting to be discovered.
Metal sculptures along the Neon Line in Reno, Nevada.

Reno, Nevada: Exploring the Biggest Little City in the World

There’s never been more to see and do in Reno.
deer prance through Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park as the Cathedral Range looms in background

Yosemite Beyond the Valley

Venture beyond Yosemite Valley to find mountain magic at California's most popular national park.
Large field of poppies at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, California at sunset.

Where to Stop on I-5, from Sacramento to Los Angeles

Stretch your legs, grab a snack, and take a break at these spots along Interstate 5 in California.
kids holding hands and running into the waves together.

Family-Friendly Spring Break Destinations

From warm sand to fresh snow, play together at these kid-friendly spots in the West.
shattered glass around a broken car window

How to Break Your Car Window in an Emergency

Accidents happen. An escape plan—and the right tools—can help you stay safe and calm.
trail through redwoods in Mendocino, California

5 Hidden Gems in Mendocino County, California

Five great reasons to skip the beach and explore inland in Northern California.
An extended family on a camping trip

7 Tips for Traveling With Your Extended Family

Plan a getaway that keeps multiple generations happy.
picture of a father and daughter strolling the beach in Encinitas, California

7 West Coast Towns for a Mellow Beach Weekend

Stroll, splash, and explore in these Pacific Coast towns.
highway 101 passes through the avenue of the giants in humboldt redwoods state park

First-Timer’s Guide to Humboldt Redwoods State Park

3,000-year-old trees, miles of trails, and more.
Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

8 Iconic Movie Locations to Visit in the West

Visit these real film locations in the West that brought your favorite Hollywood movies to life.
The Truckee River with fall leaves at the Riverwalk in Reno, NV, image

Don’t-Miss Spots in Downtown Reno and the Riverwalk District

Discover nature, art, and Reno's unique culture—all within downtown and the Riverwalk.
Riders on the Stratosphere Tower Insanity ride over the Las Vegas strip, picture

Las Vegas City Guide: Where to Go On and Off the Strip

Get to know Las Vegas like a local, from downtown to Chinatown, Red Rock Canyon to Hoover Dam.