To Catch A Sunrise At Fernandina Beach


Have you waken up at 4:30 am to catch a sunrise? What if you’re going to wait for the sun to rise at Fernandina Beach, where they say you can view one of the best sunrises in the Sunshine State?

Fernandina Beach, the northernmost city of Florida on the Atlantic side is a little over three hours by car from Orlando. To get a good parking spot close to the beach, the Traveling Chefs have to be there by 4:30 am. This requires them to wake up at 1:30 AM.

That’s not going to happen Chef Pedro thought. “Why don’t we spend the night there?”, Chef Pedro asked Chef Alicia. “Okay,” she said, as long as they could save some money on lodging.


The Traveling Chefs have been following some travelers on YouTube converting their vans into houses on wheels. So they had thought of doing the same to their Ford Expedition. They removed the 2nd row seats, folded the 3rd row as well as the driver and passenger seats, and voila, they have a bed!

Chef Alicia was initially against it. She thought the folded seats would be uncomfortable. “And where shall we park our car?”, she worried. “At Walmart parking lot,” Chef Pedro answered.

They’ve researched on how to make their converted bed comfortable and decided on buying sleeping bags which turned out to be a smart idea. The ones they bought are very soft and comfortable. And to shield the windows from inquiring eyes, they used the Thermal Shield Film from Home Depot. Builders use this to insulate houses. They cut it with scissors into the shapes of their SUV’s windows.

Earlier, he had verified with the store manager they can park there. They just have to park on the lots away from the entrance.


There were three other cars parked farthest from Walmart’s entrance when they arrived at 10 PM. One of the cars has its windows covered similar to theirs. They parked close to them in a lot under the lamppost. It will be safer there, they thought.

Before they slept, they made sure they knew where they kept their car keys. They also have their pepper sprays and their hunting knife ready for emergency. Shortly thereafter, he heard her snoring. Look at this lady, he thought to himself. Initially terrified of this whole idea, she is now asleep like a log.

At 4 AM, he nudged her to get ready to leave for the beach. On the way there, they spotted Starbucks and bought two cups of hot coffee. There were three other customers inside, two of them were police officers. This time, all his fears vanished. They took turns going to the restrooms to wash their faces and to brush their teeth.


Their red Expedition was the first car on the beach parking lot under the palm tree. They left their windows covered with the makeshift film which worked well to their amazement.

As the sun began to rise slowly above the water, he aimed his camera at it. Some people gathered close to the water. He decided to stay beside Alicia farther back.

He stood in awe. She glanced at his wife. She remained seated motionless on her chair.

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