Each year, we have a booth at the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show and the Great Alaska Sportsmans Show (going on this week in Anchorage). And each year, it seems a major incentive to locals picking up a copy of our visitor guide is visiting friends and relatives.

"My mother in law is coming for three weeks this summer. We'll NEED something for her to do or I'll go crazy," is an extreme, yet common, reaction we hear at these shows. Don't fear, we've got the answer!

Send those visiting friends and relatives on a Matanuska Glacier trek - it's a gorgeous drive up and back, and the 3-hour trips will give you an afternoon of "decompression" time from your visitors! Or, send them to Talkeetna for a Denali flightseeing trip, a riverboat experience or a rafting excursion - it's an afternoon of free time for you!

But here's the dirty little secret in Alaska - you'll want to go with them. One of the best ways to explore the entire state, your backyard included, is with visiting friends and relatives. Be a tourist in your own state, and chances are you'll explore places you never even knew existed, even if it is just miles from your hometown. I've found that I do more and see new places with my visiting friends than I typically do on my own.

Encourage your friends and relatives to visit the Mat-Su, and tag along - you may just be surprised at the things you'll see and do. Walk on a glacier. Flightsee around Denali. Snap a photo of spawning salmon, or better yet, catch one on the Little Susitna River (or the Deshka or Talkeetna rivers). Chances are, you'll end up with a vacation yourself!