The next visit, in April, CJ was crawling and at that point it really didn't matter to me how sandy he got. I was more anxious to see his reaction to a huge sandbox. Turns out, he thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was a little chilly so he still didn't get too sandy since he wore pants and a jacket.
I was CRAVING the beach this summer but we didn't get to go until this past week. However, while I could have been sweating under an umbrella in July, I was basking in sunny, mid- 70's temps at the end of September. It was gorgeous! Again, CJ entertained himself in the sand, and did even get his feet wet in the ocean one day. Although still not walking by himself, he got lots of practice holding our hands on the beach. We made a point to come down almost everyday, usually after his nap so we wouldn't have to deal with getting sand in the pack n play.
I was so thankful for the great weather. Last year, the gloomy, rainy days weren't all that bad- CJ was still taking 3 naps so we had to be inside a lot anyway. This year, we have a one-nap-taking busy toddler who is not appreciated by my parents' cat Phoebe. In the mornings, we took excursions to Manteo, the aquarium, Duck, or on the semi-chilly days down to the beach so CJ could play (but with enough clothes on so he wouldn't get too much sand on him).
By the way, for those of you who do travel down to that area, there is a new frozen yogurt place called "Surfin' Spoon" on Beach Road- probably at about MP 10 that is really cute. Check it out! http://www.surfinspoon.com/