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Getting out on the water: From kayak and standup paddleboard rentals to floating mats and snorkel gear, there are a number of ways to enjoy the water here -- so clear and so blue you won't actually believe it's real. Glass-bottom boat tours are a neat way to explore beyond the shore, but a leisurely swim also does the trick, and at no cost.

Lounging in a villa or cabana: These rentals are pricy (roughly $300 to $500 for the few hours you're in port), but they include a host of amenities like drinks, snacks, air-conditioning, float mats and snorkel gear, and even hot tubs in the villas; plus, renting one ensures you're on the first tender out to make the most of your day in the sun.

Meeting a stingray: Stingrays are actually gentle creatures, and the Stingray Adventure shore excursion offered on Half Moon Cay allows cruisers to learn more about them as they spend an hour at Stingray Cove, a protected enclosure.

Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park: Kids will flock to this fun and free water park, conveniently located just behind the main beach. A shipwreck slide leads to other water-filled parts of the playground, including water cannons and floating pads. A dry playground is also located nearby the Bahamian church.

Taking in the island's natural beauty: Whether you join a tram, bike or horseback-riding tour, or walk the nature trails yourself, take some time to enjoy the peaceful and isolatedsurroundings of this spectacular island. Bird-lovers will especially appreciate the many birdsongs from feathered friends who flock here to the International Wild Bird Preserve. Charismatic roosters also roam the island (you'll be sure to find some pecking around near the dining pavilions).


The island boasts a 2.5-mile-long crescent-shaped beach -- the source of the name Half Moon Cay -- and as such, there aren't individual beaches on Half Moon per se. But, those looking for some solitude needn't look far -- just keep walking away from the cabanas and toward the end of the cay until crowds fall away. Most groups, and families with kids, will keep close to the rows of chairs, attractions, dining areas and restrooms. If you don't mind a stroll, there's plenty of this heavenly beach to go around.