Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to choose the perfect home location

Animal Crossing New Horizons Good Spot
Animal Crossing New Horizons Good Spot (Image credit: iMore)

One of the biggest components of Animal Crossing games is designing and expanding your home. The latest addition to the series, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, gives you a huge amount of control from the very beginning of the game by letting you choose the island layout and where to pitch your tent. Here's what to keep in mind when deciding.

Choose your island

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island (Image credit: iMore)

One of the first decisions you'll be asked to make in a new game of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is to pick the layout of the deserted island you'll be moving to. You'll get a choice of four maps that all follow a similar basic layout, featuring a river, beach, open grasslands, some elevated areas, and some rocky sections along the shore. You'll be moving into the largest open area, which also houses Resident Services, a hub for crafting, commerce, and other activities throughout the game.

Resident Services can't be moved, so make sure you like where it is. It will always be in a fairly centralized spot, but you'll want there to be plenty of open space around it for other buildings you'll be adding later as your deserted island turns into a bustling village. You won't be able to cross rivers initially, so you should also make sure you have everything you need in your starting zone. The biggest thing you could miss out on is a pond, which is the only place to catch some of the game's fish. You should be able to find a winner from the four choices you're given, but if you're really picky, you can restart the game and get a fresh selection.

Pitch your tent

Animal Crossing New Horizons Tough Decision

Animal Crossing New Horizons player talking to a villager (Image credit: iMore)

Once you've picked out your island map, it's time to choose where on it you'll be living. When you visit the entrepreneurial raccoon Tom Nook at Resident Services, he'll give you a tent you can place anywhere in the starting area. The tent will be converted to your home once you performed enough tasks to earn the Nook Miles required to pay off the loan Nook gives you for all your starting supplies.

Like with Resident Services, you'll want to leave plenty of room around your tent to expand. You're probably going to want space for a bunch of outdoor furniture and a garden, and it's certainly nice to have some water and trees nearby for easy access to a fishing spot and resource gathering. Those features, and the location of Resident Services, are the only things you really need to be worried about.

While two other residents start on your island, they won't pitch their tents until you've chosen your spot. They'll pick out tentative places for themselves that are about equidistant from you, but they're happy to take advice if you want to choose a location for them. You can leave them be or bring them closer to make it more convenient to visit.

Don't worry too much

Animal Crossing New Horizons Instincts

Animal Crossing New Horizons Instincts (Image credit: iMore)

By upgrading Resident Services, you'll eventually be able to move your home, so these decisions aren't really permanent. The moving fees are fairly high, especially in the early game, so choose wisely, but don't stress too much about getting things perfect. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch for a reason since it's so chill and relaxing.

Samantha Nelson

Samantha Nelson writes about gaming and electronics for iMore, Windows Central and Android Central while also covering nerd culture for publications including IGN and Polygon. She loves superheroes, RPGs, cooking, and spending time outside with her dog. You can follow her on Twitter @samanthanelson1.