How to Choose the Best Island Layout | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

ACNH - How to Choose the Best Island Layout

This is a guide to rerolling your island (village) in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH), as well as a list of island shapes. If you are starting out Animal Crossing and want to know about things to look for when rolling and restarting for the best island, read on!

Recommended Beginner Guides
Island Layouts Banner.pngHow to Choose the Best Island Layout Which Hemisphere Should You Choose.pngWhich Hemisphere Should You Choose?
What Should You Choose to Bring to the Island - Partial.pngWhat Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? List of Starting VillagersList of Starting Villagers

How to Choose Your Island

Deciding by Island Layout

1 Press the B-button to speed up the conversation until you have reached the island selection screen.
2 Press the Home button on the Switch.
3 Press the X-button and select Close.
4 Start Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Choose on the Island Selection Screen

ACNH - Choose island layout
Upon starting the game, chose your name, birthday, appearance, and hemisphere and then proceed to the island selection screen. Note that you cannot change your name, birthday, and hemisphere, so make sure to get them right the first time!

Press the Home button to Start Over

ACNH - Home Screen
If you want to start over, press the Home button on the Switch. The small circle below the B-button is the Home button.

Press the X-button and Select Close

ACNH - Closing Game
Press the X-button and select Close to close the game.

Repeat the Process

Opening the game takes you back from the beginning, making it easy to reroll until you'll find an island that you like.

Deciding by Starting Villagers and Airport Color

1 Proceed to the point where the starting villagers are shown.
2 Press the Home button on the Switch.
3 Press the X-button and select Close.
4 Start Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Check the cutscene where the starting villagers are shown

ACNH - Starting Villagers Scene
Upon starting the game, chose your name, birthday, appearance, hemisphere, and island layout and then wait until you have landed on the deserted island. As noted above, you will not be able to change your name, birthday, hemisphere, and island layout after choosing them the first time around.

Once you've landed on the deserted island, you can check the starting villagers and the airport color.

Repeat the Process

Much like deciding on the island layout, you can press the Home button and close the game to start over.

List of Islands and Island Layouts

Live on a Cute Island!

Islands with heart and star-shaped lakes

Star shape Heart shape #1 Heart shape #2 Heart shape #3
Ribbon shape Dogbone shape #1 Dogbone shape #2

These images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

The lake found on the island has a randomized pattern, allowing for islands with a lake in the shape of a heart, islands with a ribbon pattern, and more. When choosing your island, it's up to you if you want to try resetting to find a lake with one of these cute patterns.

How to Use the Island Designer App

Diagonal Heart-shaped ponds can be made easily

ACNH - Diagonal Heart-Shaped Pond

By unlocking the Island Designer app, you can create your own diagonal heart-shaped ponds easily.

Best Island Layouts to Choose

An Island which is easy to live on from the start

Ranking No. 1 Ranking No. 2 Ranking No. 3

These images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

These recommendations prioritize having Resident Services at the center of the map, with a lake available for fishing from the first day. This is because the river can't be crossed until the second day of play. If you want to fish in a lake, you'll have to wait until the second day.

The river can only be crossed after getting the vaulting pole, which in turn requires Blather's tent to be built.

How to Unlock and Upgrade the Museum

List of Other Island Patterns

Islands with Resident Services on the left

show24.jpg show28.jpg show33.jpg
show34.jpg show36.jpg show40.jpg
show50.jpg show53.jpg show56.jpg
show75.jpg show76.jpg show79.jpg
show85.jpg show70.jpg show57.jpg
show68.jpg - -

Islands with Resident Services on the right

show32.jpg show35.jpg show38.jpg
show39.jpg show41.jpg show43.jpg
show44.jpg show51.jpg show54.jpg
show58.jpg show59.jpg show69.jpg
show21.jpg show23.jpg show25.jpg
show27.jpg show29.jpg show31.jpg
show74.jpg show77.jpg show72.jpg

Islands with Resident Services in the middle

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If you find any Island which is not shown in the above list, be sure to make a comment on this page with a picture of the island you found!
See the Comments

How to Choose the Best Islands

Element Recommendation Level (Importance)
Position of Resident Services ★★★★★
Location of Airport ★★★★☆
Airport Color ★★★★☆
Location of Estuaries ★★★★☆
Location of Cliff Slopes ★★★☆☆
Location of Rivers ★★☆☆☆
Number of Ponds ★★☆☆☆
Starting Fruit ★☆☆☆☆
Starting Flowers ★☆☆☆☆
Starting Villagers ★☆☆☆☆
Location of Rocks ★☆☆☆☆

The Best Island Has Resident Services at the Center

Clumps of Weed.png

When deciding on which island shape to go with, we highly recommend picking the one where Resident Services is located toward the center.

Resident Services is where you will go to repay loans, sell items, as well as build DIY items, and more. You will probably be going there a lot, so your overall experience will be better if it is not located too far away from the center of the island.

You cannot change this facility's location, so make sure to consider this when choosing an island.

What You Can Do at Resident Services and How to Upgrade

You Cannot Change the Airport's Location

Airport Welcome.png

Since you cannot change the airport's location after the beginning, this is another important factor in deciding the best island. If there is somewhere in particular you want it to be, be sure and check the initial map and pick an island with a location you like.

How to Unlock the Airport

You Cannot Change the Airport's Color

ACNH - Starting Villagers Scene

Airport Color List
Green Orange Blue Yellow

Much like the airport's location, you also cannot choose its color. If you want a particular color for your airport, you can check it once you've landed on the deserted island.

Consider the Placement of the Estuaries

ACNH - Estuary location

You should check the placement of the estuaries when deciding on an island. We recommend choosing an island that has two estuaries as it makes it easier to make a round trip when fishing for river fish.

List of All River Fish Times and Appearances

Convenient Placements for Cliff Slopes

ACNH - Cliff Slope

To get from the upper part of your village to the lower part (and vice versa), you will have to make use of slopes in the island's cliffs. Therefore, it is vital that the slopes are in an easy to access area. Eventually you will be able to use a ladder and even build new slopes, but in the beginning, you might want to choose an island that has slope placements that work well for you.

How to Build Slopes, Stairs and Inclines

Consider the Path that the River Flows

ACNH - Fishing on a river

You should also check out the river's path when deciding on an island. Much like slopes, this can present an inconvenience to you in the very beginning of the game.

Once you have obtained a Vaulting Pole, you should be able to jump over the river in areas separated by just one space, so this is not a huge deal. On top of this, once you have unlocked Island Designer, you will become able to freely change the island's features, such as rivers, etc.

Island Designer and Terraforming Unlock Walkthrough

Check the Amount of Ponds

ACNH - Pond

When deciding on your island, check the amount of ponds that are in it. There are a few types of fish and bugs that you can only get from ponds, so having more of them makes them all easier to obtain.

Note that you can add or remove ponds later in the game by using the Island Designer app.

Deciding by Fruit Types

ACNH - Peach fruit type

You may also want to use your starting fruit as a deciding factor for choosing an island. You can make a lot of Bells by selling non-native fruit. Therefore, if you will be playing together with a friend a lot, you should both choose an island with different fruits.

How to Get All Fruits

Deciding by Flower Types

ACNH - Mums flower type

One deciding factor for choosing an island is to check the flowers that are growing natively on the island. You'll only get three native flowers from the beginning and eventually you can get more flower types through different ways, so deciding by flower types is not recommended.

List of Flowers

Rerolling for Villagers

ACNH - Villager on Campsite

If there is a particular villager who you just have to have on your island, you can reroll to try and get them. However, with the huge roster of villagers in this game, it is pretty tough to reroll until getting the one you want. If you feel that it is just too tedious of a task, you can use an amiibo card to get the villager you want.

Starting Villagers' Characteristics
  • There will always be one male and one female.
  • The male will have a Jock personality.
  • The female will have a Big Sister (Uchi) personality.

List of Starting Villagers

Check with the list of confirmed villagers

Bob Icon.pngList of Villagers Isabelle Icon.pngSpecial Characters New Character Icon.pngNew Villagers and Characters

Check the Rocks' Locations

ACNH - Rocks

Checking to make sure the island's rocks are not positioned too close to a cliff or alongside a river is also important.

Hitting the rocks with a shovel is one of the easiest money-making methods, so you don't want to have the rock's surroundings be partially inaccessible. If the rocks do not have all of their surrounding spaces available, you will be able to make less money through this method, so it is something to look into in the beginning.

However, you can break the rocks with a shovel or an axe after eating a fruit. Doing so causes the rock to respawn in a random spot somewhere on your island the next day.

How to Break and Move Rocks

Precautions When Choosing an Island

You Can Only Have 1 Island Per Switch

ACNH - Nintendo Switch

Only one island can exist per Nintendo Switch system. Therefore, if you are going to be playing together with your family or friends on the same Switch, you may want to discuss which island to choose together.

How to Delete Save Data and Start Over

You Cannot Change the Island Name After

ACNH - Suggesting island names

You get to pick the island's name whenever you decide on the shape. Like villages in past games, you probably won't get a chance to change it later on, so be sure and pick something you like!

See All Unchangeable Features

Terraforming Has Limitations

You can freely change the shape of the island once you have unlocked the Island Designer App. Despite this, it may be difficult to create ponds of different shapes depending on the island's layout. We recommend selecting a spacious island if you wish to create custom shaped ponds.

How to Use the Island Designer App

Should You Reroll/Restart Your Island?

Are You Going to Reroll/Restart for the Best Island?

For the most part, there's no need to!

For the most part, you do not need to reroll in hopes of finding a “perfect” island. Unless you are extremely particular about having things be as efficient as possible, or there is a particular thing that you want in your island, you can just stick with your gut feeling when choosing.

On top of this, a lot of island elements which could not be altered in previous titles of the series can actually be changed mid-game in New Horizons, so there will probably be even less people who try to roll the best island for this game.

Things you can change after starting
  • Positions of facilities you created
  • Locations of slopes on cliffs
  • Positions of rivers (the river's path)

If you are worried about efficiency, go for it

If having the most efficient living area imagineable is a big deal to you, then maybe rerolling is for you. Things like the positions of Resident Services, locations of slopes, direction of rivers, and several other features can rerolled at the very start, so if it is a cause of concern to you, why not roll until you get an island you are happy with?

If you are picky about locations, you might consider it

We recommend rerolling to people who want their island to have a particular fruit, or people who really want to have a specific villager living on their island. If you are unable to make compromises when it comes to your island, you don't have to.

Related Guides


All Tips & Tricks

Beginner Guides

Beginner Guides
BeginnerBeginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons Unchangeable FeaturesUnchangeable Features
Which Hemisphere Should You Choose.pngChoosing a Hemisphere Choosing the Best IslandBest Island Layouts
What Should You Choose to Bring to the Island - Partial.pngWhat Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? Picking an IslandPicking an Island Name
Choosing the Best Tent LocationBest Tent Location How to Cross the River and Water Banner.pngHow to Cross Rivers and Waters
How to Get Furniture and Materails For House Kits.pngHow to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits How to Climb Cliffs.pngHow to Climb Cliffs
What is the Bulletin Board Partial Banner.jpgWhat is the Bulletin Board? ACNH - How to Get Pocket Camp Items.pngHow to Get Pocket Camp Items
ACNh - How to Get Nook Points Thumbnail.pngHow to Get Nook Points

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    • >>[3649] >>[3635]
      i also think its bc i put the wrong code. the right one is: SW-7169-7167-1992...

    • anybody have at least 2 cardboard boxes? or maybe even a cardboard bed?

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