When we were there in the summer only a few other couples went into the ocean. My husband and I love to go into the ocean and just float around. The water is a beautiful green colour, and the shoreline is visualy very stimulating. Because there is a river that flows directlty into the ocean close to the shore, the water can be a lot colder, until you get out a bit. The bottom is also very rocky, and you need water shoes to get in and out. Most people just hung around the pool.
Just got back from CSS in March. There seemed to be a few more people at the beach than lounging around the pool, but this is probably because there are a few more lounge chairs on the beach. Nearly all the lounge chairs were taken (and one day they had to bring in about 4 more from the main beach area.) The pool is more popular for lounging and taking a quick dip. Several people go into the sea from time to time, but don't seem to stay in the water for an extended period. The uneven bottom is probably the reason. Whether you prefer the fresh water or salt water, you'll find something to please each taste. You will enjoy SSB, it is a very special place.
My wife and I went out into the water with our floats. Like everyone says, it is chilly from the river but then warms up once you're out there. Especially if you need a break from the atmosphere at the bar, it's a very relaxing time out there.
We were there 2 weeks ago. grayturtless is right. You will probably need water shoes to get into the ocean, but once you get past the rivers end, it's nice and sandy and warmer. Many people waded out into the sea but floating on the floaties was difficult that week because the seas were rougher than usual. Most spent time in the pool if they wanted to float. Both are wonderful places to be. Hope this helps!
We were there in June last year (2011). What is being stated is pretty accurate, although I would say a fair number of the couples there spent some part of the time in the ocean, even if it was just strolling along the shoreline. There is an island of sorts - a build up of broken shells, sea junk, etc. (which may only be visible depending on sea level, but was there the whole time that we were there) - that many people would walk out to and spend some time looking for shells, treasures, etc. You definitely want water shoes there, however, the rest is pretty safe on bare feet. If you get out past the river water, the ocean warms up quite nicely. We also spent quite a bit of time over in the shade along the rocks...some nice places to sit in the water and cuddle together, as well as view some of the beautiful vegetation and wildlife. A few couples did take their floats out as well, but with the river creating a current going out to sea, they did drift pretty quickly.
We loved the ocean and the pool at SSB. Beakers comment reminds me of when I looked out at the water and saw my wife, fully relaxed on her floatie, heading towards open water! Imagine that rescue! I ended up swimming out to her and bringing her in closer. So you do get out there pretty fast.
I do recommend wearing something on your feet as its not all sandy bottom. As far as the "cold" river goes, its only a brief cold spell, and compared to NE or west coast water temps, is still tropical.
We were at SSB at a very fortunate time the first week of April this year. The river had shifted the sand in such a way that there was a clear sandy path out from the shore, so we never had to wear our water shoes for any of our 9 days. Also, the water has never been more calm, or more clear. There was hardly a ripple on the water, and the water was like crystal - just beautiful!!!