Louisiana's New Orleans is a comfortable road trip destination from Houston, writes Tim Lamb.
When Kiwis visit, they love: The history, culture, music and food. New Orleans is quite unlike anywhere else in the United States.
Best walk: Get your exercise or outlet mall shopping done on the city's River Walk next to the muddy Mississippi River.
Best adventure: There are plenty of alligator encounter options in southern Louisiana, including a canoe or kayak tour in the swamps.
Best-kept secret: Take a day trip to little-known towns in Mississippi. Head one hour east to Bay St Louis for arts, antiques and waterfront dining, or two and a half hours north to Natchez for antebellum homes and mint juleps.
Must do: Visit the National World War II Museum and take a streetcar (tram) through the garden district.
Best coffee spot: Louisiana folks love local brand Community Coffee, which is served in many cafes and restaurants. Or try Spitfire Coffee and Envie Espresso Bar and Cafe.
Best spot to get a sweet treat: Bayou Country General Store has a great range of pralines and Cajun spices and foods.
The best local flavours: If you visit from February to May you must try boiled crawfish (mini crayfish) and king cake, a cinnamon bread with purple, green and yellow icing.
Where should families eat? Venture outside the French Quarter to Middendorf's for fried catfish and Louisiana gumbo.
Where should couples dine? Arnaud's - just make sure to order local New Orleans dessert bananas foster.
Where to hang out when the sun goes down: The Steamboat Natchez for a sunset dinner cruise along the Mississippi River.
Best shop: Magazine St has clothing, art and antique stores. Or wander through the French Market for a range of crafts and cuisine.
Be one of the first to: Although it's open 24 hours, you will still need to get in line early morning to avoid the queues at Cafe Du Monde for beignets (French doughnuts).
Best sporting event to catch: Head to the state capital, Baton Rouge, to watch the Louisiana State University American football team play at the 102,000-seat capacity Death Valley Stadium.
Best selfie spot: Mardi Gras World is a family-friendly, close-up look at the props and floats from the Mardi Gras parades.
Best place to swim: Spend a night in Lake Charles (halfway between Houston and New Orleans) and stay at L'Auberge Casino Resort or Golden Nugget Hotel, both of which feature a lazy river pool and swim-up bar.
Best couples retreat: Le Pavillon has classy service and a convenient location near the French Quarter.
Best family retreat: Audubon Cottages strikes the right balance of private tranquillity and accessibility to the French Quarter. It has a great pool for relaxing in, too.
Drive times from New Orleans: Houston (5 hours), Lake Charles (3.5 hours) Bay St Louis (1 hour), Natchez (2.5 hours).