Ebbtide on Tybee Island, Georgia

Stay in a beach house owned by a best-selling author.

By Hope S. Philbrick

Parts of the movie Forrest Gump were filmed in Beaufort, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia; Erin Bass of Deep South Magazine and I heard that often while traveling in the lowcountry on our #DSGetaway.

As Gump, actor Tom Hanks famously utters the oft-quoted line, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”

Had the film crew stayed on Tybee Island, that line might have been edited to “Life is like a beach house rental.”

OK, so maybe that doesn’t quite fly off the tongue as eloquently, but if you’ve ever rented a beach house, you know it’s true. No matter what you were told or saw online, you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you open that beach house door, walk in and start looking around.

But it’s a beach house. And like any piece of chocolate, it’s hard to believe it could be terrible.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at several different beach houses on Tybee Island. All have advantages and, whatever their disadvantages, I’d rather be at a beach house on Tybee Island than just about anywhere else. Still, some wow more than others.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Ebbtide, available for rent through Mermaid Cottages, is a chocolate-mint truffle among beach houses. And that, by my palate, is high praise.

Ebbtide kitchenEbbtide dining roomEbbtide living room






The décor is bright and airy, funky fun with loads of personality. It feels beachy and yet totally individual. This is a place where you can kick back and it’s so clean you don’t feel like you’re sitting in someone else’s recently-vacated seat, and yet it’s so relaxed and cozy you don’t have to feel guilty about putting your feet up on the cocktail table if you want to. You can make this place home for the weekend or week or however long you’ve rented it, and it will feel like visiting a favorite aunt’s or best friend’s place where you’re welcomed with wide open arms. It will feel rightfully yours, not like you snuck in and are getting away with something.

Its vibe is so inspiring that it’s not hard to imagine writing a best-selling book seated in the sunroom.

Ebbtide sunroom

I’ve never met Mary Kay Andrews, but now that I’ve used her kitchen I’d like to have a dinner party with her sometime; I suspect we’d get along well in the kitchen—with her thoughtful inclusions and upscale tools, it appears she’s likely a decent cook and/or would appreciate my cooking. The kitchen at Ebbtide is stocked with all the essentials as well as fun extras, so you can really cook here if so inspired. (Plus, an IGA is within walking distance, an appreciated convenience on any vacation when groceries rarely rank high on the preferred to-do list.)

The next time I’m shopping for a new mattress, I’d like to give Mary Kay Andrews a call. The bed was divine; I slept better at Ebbtide than I’ve slept anywhere, ever.

Of course, the sound of rhythmic ocean waves doesn’t hurt.

Ebbtide bedroomEbbtide bedroomEbbtide bedroom






From Ebbtide you can see the ocean and, though it’s a boardwalk away, the distance from the house to the sand is short.

There were more bedrooms than Erin and I could occupy, even if we’d brought our husbands along and sent them into separate rooms. Bathrooms were thoughtfully stocked (for starters, shampoo and blow dryers were provided—standards in hotels, but not often in beach houses).

cocktail by @21plusTravelThere was a central living room with TV and rooms downstairs that we never even used. When not sleeping, cooking or eating in the dining room, we hung out in the sunroom. Writing and drinking, mostly. (That’s what happens when two writers retreat to a beach house.)

I’m hoping that by staying in a best-selling author’s house some of that good writing juju will rub off on me. Or Erin. If one of us makes it big, the plan is to buy a beach house that we can visit anytime.

Owning a beach house would be as sweet as a dark chocolate covered caramel.

‘Til then, borrowing Ebbtide is a tasty treat.

  • Free Wi-Fi high-speed Internet access
  • No pets allowed
  • 6 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 2 stories, no elevator so expect to climb stairs
  • 1 king bed; 3 queen beds; 4 twin beds
  • Accommodations for up to 12 people
  • Basic coffee supplies provided
  • Outdoor grill
  • Covered parking for up to 4 vehicles
  • Rates from $450 a night
  • Easy beach access; Ebbtide is the 2nd house from the beach
  • Book it through Mermaid Cottage Rentals
  • Odds of Encountering Children: Zero inside Ebbtide, unless you bring some along. 21 Plus Salute!
Where To Eat…

When you don’t feel like cooking, you can walk or bike or drive down the street to…

Social ClubSocial Club
1311 Butler Ave
Tybee Island, GA 31328
This taqueria surged onto the Tybee Island dining scene to become an essential must-eat destination restaurant. Creative tacos taste so good they lure sun worshippers indoors. Nachos are piled so high with toppings, the suggested appetizer can serve as a meal for two. Burgers, fresh catch entrées, salads and vegetarian options ensure there’s something for everyone on the menu. Lunchtime two-for-one sangria specials serve as a reminder that you’re on vacation. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

What To Do…

In addition to reading, sleeping, cooking, talking, going to the beach and general “I’m on vacation” zoning out, you might visit…

Fat Tire Bike Rentals
A bike is the best way to get around on flat, bike-friendly Tybee Island.

Tybee Island Light StationTybee Island Light Station
Climb 178 steps to the top of the lighthouse that has guided sailors into the Savannah River since 1732. Want more to explore? The five-acre site boasts all of the historic support buildings.

Tybee Island Marine Science Center
Whether you tour the museum, schedule a beach tour with a marine expert or browse the gift shop, odds are you’ll learn something and consider it time well spent.

More Information…

Tybee Island is one of Georgia’s barrier islands. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recognizes 14 main barrier islands; four of which—including Tybee Island—are accessible by car.

Mermaid Cottages

Visit Tybee Island

For a second opinion, read the review on Deep South Magazine

Read an interview with Mary Kay Andrews on Deep South Magazine

Mary Kay Andrews bookMary Kay Andrews bookMary Kay Andrews book






Tybee Island, Georgia was among the stops of the #DSGetaway shared by Deep South Magazine and Getaways for Grownups. To read more related features, click on the DSGetaway tag on this site or on DeepSouthMag.com. On Facebook and Twitter, search #DSGetaway.

– Photos © HSP Media LLC

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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