The intracoastal has its drawbacks but bob423 (software) tracks have enabled boats transiting from north to south in the fall and vice versa in the spring to navigate with relative ease.
Heading to Morehead city from Norfolk, you can go outside -giving Cape Hatteras some healthy respect and re-enter the ICW at the Beaufort inlet. Oregon Inlet, Cape Hatteras and Okracoke inlets are tricky and best left to the charter captains and those with local knowledge
Having the ICW in that stretch also provides an alternative highway in case of stormy weather or craft principally designed for coastal cruising. This applies to the length of the ICW from maine to Brownsville Texas.
Bob423 tracks in conjunction with aqua maps or navionics are updated regularly as boats transit and provide feedback on bridge closures and timing ,shoaling areas and also good info on marinas and services along the way.
downloadable Marine Charts