The Most Impressive Animal Crossing: New Horizons Islands

Casual vacationers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons may believe that the game is simply about critter hunting, playing the stalk market, and enjoying the peaceful island atmosphere. But in reality, New Horizons is a hardcore designer sandbox where true architects gather to showcase their skills. With the help of social media and the new island sculpting tools provided by Nintendo, some truly stunning and bizarre islands have emerged, pushing the game to its limits.

In this article, we have scoured the internet to compile a list of the 25 most remarkable designs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These islands feature a wide range of themes, from real-life recreations to spooky cemeteries, quaint coffee shops, and serene Zen gardens. Regardless of their uniqueness, they all share one common trait: a keen eye for exceptional design.

A Santorini Getaway

A photo of a Santorini residential area in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/krannich47

With its classic whitewashed buildings nestled into hilltops, Santorini, or Thera, attracts over 2 million tourists annually. Although we can’t visit in person right now, we can embark on a virtual trip to this fantastic locale. The creator of this island has expertly captured the vibrant urban aesthetic using a combination of in-game items and custom patterns. Look closely, and you’ll notice the clever use of patterns to create faux windows on the walls.

Stardew Crossing

A screenshot of an Animal Crossing character in a custom garden surrounded by vegetables, trees, and flowers
Image Credit: Reddit u/krannich47

This designer has taken the concept of a rustic garden to a whole new level. By utilizing custom dirt patterns, watermelon beach balls, and carefully selected flora, they have crafted a garden that wouldn’t look out of place in a 3D farming simulator. While most architects focus on urban mini-cities, this island demonstrates how nature elements in New Horizons can be transformed into a unique aesthetic.

An Office Wonderland

A screenshot of a bug-themed office in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/krannich47

What may seem like a creepy bug invasion to some is an opportunity for creative genius to others. This whimsical office layout is filled with delightful details, thanks to custom designs. One bug is busy coding, while another enjoys YouTube videos with the villager Rocket. The bug sketching in the background has even crumpled up some designs in frustration. These meticulous touches leave a lasting impression on visitors to the island.

Hilltop Haven

A screenshot of a tiered residential area on an Animal Crossing island
Image Credit: Reddit u/krannich47

Unlike many islands that push the houses to one corner to make space for elaborate designs, this island incorporates the homes into the overall design, resulting in a breathtaking layout. Each villager has their own unique yard and front lawn that showcases their personality. The tiered layout of the island makes it a delightful journey to explore and visit each home.

Ramen Delights

A photo of an outdoor ramen restaurant in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/leath-r

A recreation of an Ichiraku Ramen restaurant in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will make your mouth water. With a mix of terraforming and fencing for the walls, custom designs for the signage, and everyday kitchen items for decoration, this island has created a unique visual landmark. Even if no one is dining there, the restaurant remains full of charm and character.

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Enchanting Forest

A screenshot of a butterfly trail in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/leath-r

Some designers transport players to magical realms that make you forget you’re on a tropical island. This island achieves that with its whimsical path, winding rivers, and lush waterfalls. Custom-patterned leaves, mushrooms, and petals complete the enchanting look, creating a serene and captivating atmosphere.

Jaw-Dropping Perspective

A screenshot of an Animal Crossing island with forced perspective
Image Credit: Reddit u/xqz-moi

Is this a City Folk DLC or the result of remarkably creative minds? Some designers play with forced perspective, utilizing small items and clever camera angles to make the island appear larger than it is. In this case, barrels cleverly double as smokestacks, making silos and poles seem taller, transforming the island into a bustling downtown metropolis. To surprise your friends with optical illusions, explore more forced-perspective designs on social media. You might be surprised at how simple they are to recreate.

The High Line in NYC

A screenshot of an overgrown bridge in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/xqz-moi

Once again, a designer has skillfully captured the essence of a real-life location. By using terraforming to simulate a giant elevated track and incorporating excellent custom-designed panels to imitate buildings, this island transports you to one of the most picturesque parts of the Big Apple. The best part? It’s less crowded than usual!

Gamers’ Paradise

A montage of an Animal Crossing character in a room filled with games, arcade cabinets, and consoles
Image Credit: Reddit u/Baileybay18

Who wouldn’t want to have their own personal gaming den like this one? With arcade cabinets, consoles, and gaming-themed decorations, this design creates the perfect hangout spot for any gamer. The custom touches, such as retro Pokémon posters, nerdy gaming attire, and a Zelda screensaver, enhance the atmosphere and make it a truly inviting space.

Retro Rose Garden

A screenshot of a Pac-Man rose design in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/Baileybay18

Garden art can be an ingenious way to beautify your island without the need for complex designs or specific furniture. This island showcases an excellent Pac-Man flower design created using flowers. As you run past this vibrant creation, you can almost hear the iconic waka-waka sound effects in your mind. By nurturing a collection of flowers in various colors, you too can bring your favorite characters to life and add a touch of whimsy to your island.

Rustic Simplicity

A screenshot of a minimalistic Animal Crossing island design
Image Credit: Reddit u/-Sinbound

While many stunning islands in New Horizons rely on rare items, this user proves that simplicity can be just as captivating. By focusing on well-designed waterways, wooden plank walkways, and carefully placed trees and flowers, this island brings out the natural charm of the game. If you have plenty of time on your hands but lack rare items, this design is a great starting point.

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Urban Utopia

A screenshot of a compact, dense, and gritty Animal Crossing island
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

Occasionally, you stumble upon an island that looks nothing like your own, making you wonder if you’re even playing the same game. This masterpiece is easily one of the most compact, dense, and gritty urban layouts we’ve ever encountered.

Pokémon Paradise

A screenshot of an Animal Crossing island with Pokémon-themed designs
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

With the clever use of custom path designs, this user has successfully recreated the visuals from early Pokémon games. The island even features a giant Snorlax blocking the path, adding an extra touch of authenticity and playfulness.

Japanese Delight

A screenshot of a charming outdoor dining area in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/Ah00n

This island offers players a more spacious environment to explore, complete with city blocks full of shops, houses, and public gardens. The extensive use of zen fencing throughout the island is truly impressive. One can only imagine the time and effort it took to gather enough resources to build such a stunning landscape.

Spooky Cemetery

A screenshot of a spooky cemetery in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/-Sinbound

While a bit on the eerie side for Animal Crossing, this cemetery is undeniably one of the coolest creations we’ve witnessed. With the addition of Redd’s sculptures, it has become a true masterpiece. On the bright side, Wisp finally has a place to call home!

Simple Serenity

A screenshot of a charming bedroom in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/amberingo

Creating a beautiful room doesn’t always require fancy furniture. This designer has demonstrated that with simple tables, a few lamps, and an abundance of picture frames, you can create a relaxing and inviting space.

Life’s a Beach

A screenshot of a beachfront area in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/amberingo

While summer may be coming to an end, this island is perpetually in beach mode. With a house just steps away from the shore and carefully arranged seashell-themed items, this spot exudes a laid-back beachy vibe. Custom designs in the sand draw hearts, adding a touch of romance.

Cozy Coffee Corner

A screenshot of a cozy coffee shop in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/amberingo

This coffee shop design may utilize some rare kitchen furniture, but its charm is undeniable. By combining rustic table stands, cozy bookcases, and beautiful flowers, the shop becomes an inviting space. The NookPhone’s camera app is cleverly used to capture the inviting atmosphere of the shop.

Outdoor Oasis

A screenshot of a peaceful outdoor plaza in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/amberingo

Sometimes, all you need is a soothing outdoor space with flowers, trees, and a place to sit. A simple, well-crafted layout like this breezy plaza can have a profound impact, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling island life.

Blathers’ Shrine

A screenshot of an island devoted to Blathers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

This island may not be immediately striking from ground level, but from the air, it’s a sight to behold. While some players struggle with the new terraforming tools, this island’s creator has turned their entire land into a massive shrine dedicated to their favorite museum curator, Blathers.

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Exquisite Beach Dining

A screenshot of a fancy beachfront restaurant in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/leath-r

Imagine this as the location for Reese and Cyrus’ wedding reception on Harv’s Island. Impeccable place settings, elegant floral centerpieces, an elevated stage for live performances, custom flooring, and the sounds of the waves make this beachfront restaurant utterly captivating.

Visitor Checkpoint

A screenshot of a humorous visitor checkpoint on an Animal Crossing island
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

We’re not sure if this design is an exemplary island layout, but it certainly brings a smile to our faces. Visitors to this island must lie down on a series of beds before entering town. While it may add an extra 10 seconds to their journey, it’s a funny and unique checkpoint experience. Just make sure to pass through it after enduring the lengthy load times associated with flying on Dodo Airlines!

Mini Golf Extravaganza

A screenshot of a custom-designed mini-golf course in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

While you can’t actually play mini-golf on this course, it serves as a delightful backdrop that adds to the island’s overall atmosphere. This talented designer has customized paths to create a visually stunning golf course, complete with themed holes like Bunny Day, Beach, and Outer Space. The attention to detail and uniqueness of these objects likely contribute significantly to the island’s overall rating.

Zelda Dungeon

A screenshot of a Zelda-inspired dungeon in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

While not an exact replica, this island creates a Zelda-inspired dungeon that would make the creators of The Legend of Zelda series proud. Complete with puzzles, challenges, and a “boss” character to defeat, it adds an adventurous twist to the Animal Crossing experience.

Zen Oasis

A screenshot of a serene Zen garden in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image Credit: Reddit u/ImNotChineseOk

This small Zen garden embodies peaceful design, graceful craftsmanship, and simple elegance. It serves as a tranquil haven amidst the bustling life of your island. Create and place any objects you desire within the garden, and they seamlessly integrate into the minimalist and expansive design.


These remarkable Animal Crossing: New Horizons islands showcase the creativity and design skills of players around the world. From Santorini-inspired residential areas to whimsical forests and cozy coffee shops, each island is a unique testament to the limitless possibilities the game offers. So grab your virtual passport and embark on a journey to explore these awe-inspiring creations.

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