(CNN) -

Sherman Lee Criner is vacationing in a bull's eye. Emerald Island, North Carolina, is just west of where Hurricane Arthur came ashore late Thursday with 100 mph winds.

The Category 2 storm made landfall at 11:15 p.m. between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, the National Hurricane Center said. Arthur was charging to the northeast at 15 mph.

Criner didn't plan it to be right in its path. He asked his two children and niece where they wanted to spend the holidays, they voted for the beach and he granted the wish.

He thought of canceling the trip as the storm brewed but decided against it.

"It's a doable storm," Criner said.

The lawyer lives in Wilmington and has sat out hurricanes before. He also felt confident sturdiness of their accommodations of concrete and steel.

"We're in an 8th floor condominium," he said. When Arthur's eye wall hits, he will wake up son Sherman, 9, daughter Elizabeth, 14, and niece Mary Brown, 10.

They'll to look out the window at the surf below, as the storm surge pushes it up Indian Beach.

Stormy holidays

Other vacationers hunkered down in hotels along the North Carolina coast Thursday evening as Hurricane Arthur grew into a Category 2 storm.

CNN severe weather expert Chad Myers said the storm was getting more dangerous as it developed an inner eye wall.

"That's concerning, because the smaller the eye gets, the stronger the winds get," he said.

Hurricane Arthur was bearing down on Morehead City, a popular vacation site for the Fourth of July.

"The dangerous part of this storm is going to travel right along the coast," he said.

Rain was intermittently heavy throughout the day in much of the southeastern parts of the state.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington said 1 1/3 inches of rain fell during one hour Thursday afternoon. The office also tweeted that there was some flooding just south of downtown.

The storm's strongest sustained winds were 100 mph.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory told residents and tourists to stay inside while it was dark outside. He said the potential track for the storm would move it closer to land.

"We did not expect this western movement," he told reporters Thursday night. "So we're most concerned now about flooding inland and storm surges in our sounds and in our rivers."

There were no immediate reports of injuries and some counties reported only minimal damage.

The good news: the storm hit Thursday at low tide, the governor said. The bad news: the storm was now stronger.

CNN correspondents at Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington and Atlantic Beach said most people in those two tourist destinations were heeding authorities' calls to stay out of the surf.

But people were getting out on the sand to see the dark clouds roll in before heading in for the night.

"We are starting to see the water come up a little further," said Marc Leford, the facilities manager at the Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach. "The guests are hanging tight. They seem to be having a good time. They're ready to wait it out."

At the Frying Pan Tower, 34 miles offshore from Wilmington, Richard Neal said the winds had shaken the old Coast Guard light station enough to cause some apprehension.

Neal has turned the tower into an "adventure bed and breakfast."

But after 99 mph winds and 35-foot waves, he said, "We were not expecting it to be this much of an adventure."

Neal said there were no guests there and he and his children were sitting around playing cards as the eye passed through.

He warned people on land to evacuate.

"These are very large waves and the swells are enormous," he said.