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

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

Learn the best the layout to choose for your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. Find our list of island layouts and whether or not you should reroll for your ACNH island below!

Recommended Beginner Guides
ACNH - How to Choose the Best Island LayoutHow to Choose the Best Island Layout ACNH - Which Hemisphere Should You ChooseWhich Hemisphere Should You Choose?
ACNH - What Should You Choose to Bring to the IslandWhat Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? ACNH - List of Starting VillagersList of Starting Villagers

How to Choose an Island or Reroll for New Ones

1 When you reach island selection screen, choose one with the A Button
2 If you want to reroll, press the HOME Button
3 Press the X Button to close the game
4 Click on Animal Crossing: New Horizons to restart

1. Choose an Island

ACNH - A player chooses an island layout

Upon starting the game, chose your name, birthday, appearance, and hemisphere and then proceed to the island selection screen.

2. Reroll with the HOME Button

ACNH - The Home Screen of the Nintendo Switch system

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

3. Close the Game with the X Button

ACNH - Closing Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Press the X-button and to close the game. This will allow you to restart the game from the very beginning.

4. Reboot the Game

All that's left is to reboot the game! Head over to the first step for review on how to choose an island.

What is the Best Island Layout?

Although the best island layout will depend on how you want to play, here's what we think the you should look out for:

Criteria 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

ACNH - Timmy receives Clumps of Weed and offers to buy them

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. Your overall experience will be better if it's located as near to the center as possible.

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

ACNH - A player being welcomed at the airport

Since you cannot change the airport's location after the beginning, this is another important factor in deciding the best island. 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 - Residents arriving at the airport of the deserted island

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 River Mouth

ACNH - A player near an estuary

You should check the placement of the river mouth (where the river connects to the sea) 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 Cliff for Inclines

ACNH - Villager gathered around an incline

To get from the upper part of your village to the lower part (and vice versa), you will have to make use of inclines in the island's cliffs. Therefore, it is vital that the inclines are in an easy to access area.

Eventually you will be able to use a ladder and even build new inclines, but in the beginning, you might want to choose an island that has incline placements that work well for you.

How to Build Slopes, Stairs and Inclines

Consider the Path that the River Flows

ACNH - Best Island Layout Guide - A play fishing in a river

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

Upon obtaining a Vaulting Pole, you can jump over rivers in areas separated by just one space.

Once you've 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 - A resident fishes in a pond

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 - A resident stands idly with peach trees in the background

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 - A player standing in the middle of a crop of flowers

Deciding by flower types is not recommended as you can eventually get more flower types through a variety of means.

List of Flowers

Rerolling for Villagers

ACNH - A player talking to Bunnie in the 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 - A player hitting rocks

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

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, causing the rock to respawn in a random spot somewhere on your island the next day.

How to Break and Move Rocks

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.

Terraforming Guide and Ideas

Diagonal Heart-shaped ponds can be made easily

ACNH - 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. 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

ACNH - Best Island Layout Guide - A map of an island

Islands with Resident Services on the right

Islands with Resident Services in the middle

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

Precautions When Choosing an Island

You Can Only Have 1 Island Per Switch

ACNH - A Nintendo Switch console

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 - Island resident picking an island name

You get to pick the island's name whenever you decide on the shape. Like villages in past games, you 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

ACNH - 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.

Terraforming Guide and Ideas

Island Themes and Ideas

ACNH - Island ideas sample via Dream Towns
Having trouble picking a theme for your island? Check out our featured list of Dream Towns for inspiration and guidance on possible ways you can set up your island's aesthetic!

Best Dream Addresses and Dream Towns

Should You Reroll/Restart Your Island?

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

Yes! 1113
No way! 291

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

For the most part, you don't need to reroll to find a “perfect” island. You can just stick with your gut feeling when choosing.

A lot of island elements that can't be altered in previous titles can actually be changed mid-game in New Horizons, so don't worry too much about rerolling for the ''best island!"

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

If you are worried about efficiency, go for it

Things like the positions of Resident Services, locations of inclines, direction of rivers, and several other features can rerolled at the very start, so if it's 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 if you want your island to have a particular fruit, or if you want to have a specific villager living on your island. If you're able to make compromises when it comes to your island, you don't have to.

Related Guides


All Tips & Tricks

Beginner Guides

Beginner Guides
ACNH - BeginnerBeginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons ACNH - Unchangeable Features partialUnchangeable Features
ACNH - Which Hemisphere Should You Choose partialWhich Hemisphere Should You Choose? ACNH - How to Choose the Best Island Layout partialBest Island Layouts
ACNH - What Should You Choose to Bring to the IslandWhat Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? ACNH - Island NamesIsland Names
Best House and Tent LocationBest House and Tent Location ACNH - How to Cross Rivers and WatersHow to Cross Rivers and Waters
ACNH - How to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits partialHow to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits ACNH - How to Climb Cliffs and Build Slopes partialHow to Climb Cliffs
ACNH - What Is The Bulletin Board partialWhat is the Bulletin Board? ACNH - How to Get Pocket Camp Items.pngHow to Get Pocket Camp Items
ACNH - How to Get Nook Points partialHow to Get Nook Points

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