The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
The ICW consists mostly of lazy coastal rivers meandering through a labyrinth of marsh between the barrier islands and coast of Georgia and into South Carolina. It’s hard to get lost with modern chart plotters but in this maze, it's pretty easy to get temporarily misplaced.
In South Carolina, the ICW dips more inland, through Winyah Bay into the Waccamaw River near Georgetown and turning into mostly canals with periodic river crossings on its way to the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. Then even further inland (more than 50 miles from Cape Hatteras) through the Pongo River/Canal into the Alligator River and Albemarle Sound. The Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds are the first significant open water since the Gulf of Mexico.
Across the Albemarle Sound into the Pasquotank River and Dismal Swamp Canal where Robert, the lockmaster at Deep Creek Lock pipes you through by blowing on his conch shell. On to Deep Creek Canal/River, Elizabeth River and finally to Norfolk and Hampton Roads of Monitor and Merrimack fame.
Bigger Looper trawlers often take the deeper Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal to the Elizabeth River.