Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

79 tips, tricks, and secrets for Animal Crossing New Horizons

These tips and tricks are roughly ordered by how advanced they are, from basic tips that will be helpful early in the game to more advanced tips that will help on a 5-star island.

Clean weeds and sticks off your island

Picking all your weeds and gathering all the sticks is a great way to boost your island's rating. Even if your island already has a high rating, allowing weeds to grow will quickly drag your island rating back down. It's okay to have a handful of weeds, but your island rating will suffer if you let them grow for a week or two, so be sure to clean them up frequently!

Learn to hit each rock eight times

Every rock can yield eight stones, clay, iron, and gold nuggets each day. Hit the rock too slowly, however, and you may not even get half of that. Every time you hit the rock you get pushed backward, so you need to put something behind you to make sure you stay in place. While standing directly next to the rock at a diagonal, dig two holes behind and next to you to make a corner. Make sure the holes aren't directly next to the rock.

Before hitting the rock, first make sure you haven't eaten any fruit so that you don't destroy it! Equip your shovel — axes can also hit rocks, but they're slower. Then hit theabutton repeatedly as quickly as you can until all eight nuggets have been hit from the rock.

Learn where to stand to shoot balloons

If you see a balloon, position the camera high overhead (so you're looking down) by pressing down on the right joystick. This will allow you to get a better sense of the distance from you to the balloon. Walk until the balloon is centered at the top of the screen — you should now be directly under the balloon, and be able to hit it with your slingshot.

Look for a vendor on your island every day

Once you upgrade your resident services, there will be a special visitor to your island every day. Daisy May will sell turnips on Sunday morning, and once you advance far enough in the game, KK will play concerts on Saturdays. On other days, a random vendor will appear, including Leif selling plants or Gulliver washed up on the beach. Many of these vendors will set up shop in the plaza, but others wander around your island; if you can't find a vendor and don't know where to look, try talking repeatedly to your villagers, who will occasionally mention who is on your island!

Learn to catch wasps

Hardwood and cedar trees (but not fruit trees) can contain wasps. If you don't catch the wasps in a net, they can sting you. The first sting of the day will give you a swollen eye, while subsequent wasps stings will make you pass out and wake up in front of your home. To avoid getting stung, shake trees while holding your net the first time you interact with each tree each day. Stand directly in front of the tree when you shake it. If a wasp comes out you will automatically turn in its direction and you just need to press A to swing your net and catch the wasp.

Eat fruit to break rocks and move trees

Eating fruit gives you special powers when you use your shovel. After eating fruit you can dig up entire trees and break rocks. Most of the time you want to leave your trees and rocks in place, but when you do want to move them, just eat some fruit before doing so.

Rearrange your pockets with drag-and-drop

You can hold down the A button while hovering over an item in your pockets. After a second or so, it will let you drag the item to a new location and you can release the A button.

Plant shrubs around your rocks

Rather than digging holes next to your rocks every time you want to hit them, plant shrubs that you buy from Leif. The shrubs will prevent you from moving backwards while hitting your rocks. Unlike holes, they are permanent. Unlike furniture, you can't accidentally pick them up while grabbing the materials that have dropped from the rock.

Earn 12,500 bells daily by catching wasps

Each day the hardwood and cedar trees on your island contain five wasps. Each of those wasps can sell in the nook store for 2,500 bells.

Earn 16,000 bells daily from your money rock

Each day one random rock on your island will be a money rock. if you hit it eight times a total of 16,000 bells will come out. each hit gives about twice as many bells as the previous hit so half the money, 8,000 bells, comes out on the very last hit.

Earn 21,000 bells daily by planting money trees

Each day on your Island there is a glowing spot on the ground. If you dig there you will find 1,000 bells and the hole will keep glowing. If you plant 10,000 bells into that glowing hole, it will make a money tree sapling. In three days that's sapling will mature into a money tree bearing 30,000 bells. At that point you can shake the bells and collect them, then chop down the tree. 10,000 bells is the optimal amount to plant. If you plant less than that you won't get 30,000 out. If you plant more than that, the amount you get back will be random and often less than you planted. Planting 10,000 bells nets a tidy profit of 20,000 bells plus the 1,000 bells you dug out of the ground.

Earn 50,000 bells per hour diving in the ocean

Collecting sea creatures is one of the fastest ways to make money. The average sea creature is worth more than the average bug or fish. Put on a wet suit swim out to where you see bubbles then dive towards the shadow of the creature.

Earn 50,000 bells per hour catching sharks

In the summertime when sharks are out you can earn a substantial amount of money catching them. Look for fish shadows in the ocean that have fins and only catch those fish. In the worst case you will catch a suckerfish worth 1,000 bells, but all other sharks are worth far more, some as much as 15,000 bells. If you aren't finding enough sharks on your island, head to a random nook miles island and fish there.

Nook miles are more valuable than bells

Nook miles are harder to get than bells and can't be bought with bells. Even when you have amassed millions of bells, you may only have 100,000 nook miles. You may want to use that many miles to buy nook miles tickets for a villager hunt. Early in the game it might be tempting to buy bell vouchers with your nook miles to pay off your house, but there are better uses of your nook miles later in the game.

Claim nook miles plus as soon as they happen

If your nook phone beeps to tell you that you have earned nook miles, claim them right away. At any given time there are five nook miles plus tasks that you can complete. As soon as you claim the miles from a completed task, a new task replaces it. If you let them pile up without claiming them you won't get new tasks. In some cases you may even perform an action that would have gotten you nook miles had you claimed your miles and gotten a task for that action.

Only hit a rock when you have a nook miles task for it

If you are trying to get lots of nook miles, don't hit all your rocks at the beginning of the day. Save your rocks for when you get a nook miles task for hitting rocks. If you have hit all your rocks, it will be hard to complete a hit rocks nook mile task when you get it. Of course, near the end of the day you can hit all your rocks to get the ore.

Place a wardrobe outdoors for nook miles

A common nook miles task is "change clothes using a wardrobe." This task is very easy to complete if you have a changing room, locker, or throwback rocket placed outside where you can change. It is a lot faster if you don't have to go inside your house to find a wardrobe. You only need to change one item of clothing to get the miles.

Place a work bench outdoors as well as in your house

It is often a lot easier to craft something if you don't have to spend the time going inside your house. On the other hand, you don't have access to your house storage outdoors, so you will want a place to craft inside your house as well.

Make sure there's room on the ground when you shoot a balloon

When you shoot a balloon with a slingshot there has to be room for the present to land on the ground. If you shoot the balloon too close to water or with flowers all around the present will get lost. There has to be somewhere you could place furniture where the present will land.

Get a variety of villager personalities

There are hundreds of villagers that you could find to live on your island, but they only come in 8 personalities: childish (AKA lazy), geezer (AKA cranky), jock, peppy, big sister, normal, snooty, and smug. Each personality has its own unique dialog. Once you get 10 villagers, it is nice to have one of every personality. If you have too many of any one personality, talking to your villagers gets very repetitive and boring.

Use a price list to figure out which creatures are worth catching

You can earn lots of bells by catching creatures, but only the right ones. Catching creatures that are worth less than 1,000 bells isn't a good use of your time. Use a price list to know which creatures are worth pursuing: ACNH price list

Ignore cheap sea creatures when diving

The cheapest sea creatures that you will find when swimming in the ocean are seaweed and anemones. you can avoid diving for them by identifying their bubble pattern. They have about seven bubbles in the nearly vertical column. just ignore them and dive for other creatures that you can sell for more.

Save expensive fish for CJ

Every couple of weeks a Beaver named CJ visit your island and offers to buy your fish for a premium. He will pay 50% more than the Nook shop. It is worth saving any fish worth more than 1,000 bells in your house storage until CJ arrives.

Save expensive bugs for Flick

Every couple weeks a reptile named Flick visits your island and offers to buy your bugs for a premium. He will pay 50% more for bugs than the Nook shop. it is worth saving any bug worth more than 1,000 bells in your house storage until flick arrives.

Keep a good stock of crafting supplies in your house storage

Keep a few rows of wood, minerals, weeds, and other crafting supplies in your house storage. You'll get extras of some of them and new recipes may just need them.

Close your eyes and listen when you're catching a fish

To catch a fish you have to wait until the fish bites. The fish may nibble without biting up to four times. The easiest way to Tell nibbles from bites is from the sound it makes. You may find that closing your eyes helps you concentrate on the sound.

Talk to your villagers if you find them busy at their work bench

If you find a villager in their house hard at work with a hammer at their work bench, you should talk to them. They will give you a recipe for whatever they are trying to make.

Keep talking to Gulliver to wake him up

If you find Gulliver asleep on your beach, you can wake him up, but it takes persistence. All you need to do is keep talking to him to poke him awake. It usually takes six tries before he gets up.

Move your rocks closer together

Move your rocks closer together to make them easier to find and keep track of which ones you have hit. If you have fewer than six rocks on your island, one new rock will regenerate somewhere randomly overnight. If your rocks are scattered around your island, you can destroy the furthest flung rock each day and hope it regenerates closer to the rest of your rocks.

Always perform tasks and favors for your villagers when they ask

The "smile isle" nook miles task is the hardest one to complete. You have to perform 300 favors for your villagers. they will ask you to catch a bug or fish for them, delivery package for them, go on a treasure hunt with them, bring them medicine, or find a lost item for them. You can get two or three of these tasks each day by talking to each of your villagers multiple times.

Keep some creatures that villagers ask for in your house storage

One type of villager request for smile isle nook miles is catching a fish or bug for a villager as a favor. There are a few types of bugs they commonly ask for. Because they can be hard to catch on demand, you can keep a few extra of each in your storage: wharf roaches, flower bugs (like stinkbugs and ladybugs), loaches, and zebra turkey fish. They either don't tend to ask for other creatures or ask for things that are easy to catch on demand.

Sit on a toilet to cancel extra eaten fruit

If you have eaten extra fruit and don't want to dig up any more trees or destroy any more rocks, you can flush that fruit out of your system by sitting on a toilet.

Keep extra tools placed outdoors in case yours break

Keep a stash of tools placed (not dropped; dropped items hurt your island rating) near the center of your island. That way you can run over and grab a new tool when you break one. You could also keep them in your house storage, but it takes longer to go in and out of your house. Also, bugs, fish, balloons disappear when you go in and out of buildings.

7:00 PM until 9:00 PM is one of the best times to play each day

This two hour window in the evening has a lot going for it. The shops are open, your villagers are all awake, KK concerts have started, meteor showers have started, Wisp could be around, and Celeste could be around. You'll need to play at other times of the day too, but you may want to focus on 7 to 9 PM.

Make friends with your villagers by giving them wrapped presents

When your villagers are more friendly, they pay more towards inclines and bridges. If they feel you are a great friend they will eventually give you their photo. After talking to a villager for a few days, you can give them presents. You can get four friendship points with each villager each day: 1. talking to them 2. giving them a present 3. wrapping the present you give them 4. giving them a valuable enough present that they give you a present back (2500 bells). You don't get extra friendship by interacting with them more on the same day or increasing the value of your gifts. It should take between 2 and 6 weeks to get a villager photo if you give them a valuable wrapped present every day.

Scare away fish that you don't want to catch

If you see other fish shadows other than the size you are specifically looking for, scare them away by running near them, hitting the water with your net, or pole vaulting near them. When you scare away a fish, it causes a new one to generate somewhere else.

Learn to wish on shooting stars

To wish on a shooting star you need to put you tools in your pockets (you can't be holding a tool), look up at the sky (move the right joystick up), then press the A button.

Get 20 star fragments during each meteor shower

Once or twice a month there should be a meteor shower on your island all night starting at 7:00 PM. When this happens, wish on up to twenty of shooting stars to find up to twenty star fragments washed up on your beach in the morning.

Use a guide to identify fake artwork

When Redd brings his boat to your island and sells artwork, some of the art will be fake. You can identify which pieces are real and which are fake before you buy them by examining them closely. A guide such as the ones from Polygon, Animal Crossing World, or IGN will tell you which details to look for to know if the artwork is real or fake.

Flower wreaths and crown recipes are rare

The hardest recipes to get are for wreaths and crowns made out of flowers. There are a lot of the recipes so you will get them sometimes, but it is very difficult to collect all of them. If you find a villager crafting a flower wreath or crown, invite your friends to your island so they can get a copy of the recipe too.

Limit your island to just seven hardwood and cedar trees

The first five hardwood and cedar trees on your island will generate wasps every day. The 6th and 7th trees will generate furniture. there is little value in having additional hardwood and cedar trees beyond that. chop down your extra hardwood and cedar trees and replace them with fruit trees. then you know that when you shake your non-fruit trees you are definitely going to get something valuable out of them.

Clear off nook Islands to get crafting supplies

When you use a nook miles ticket to get to an island, you can get all of its natural resources, chop every tree hit every rock pick every weed and bring those supplies home to store in your house for later use.

Give your villagers wall hangings so they won't mess up their houses

Villagers will put most furniture and clothing you give them in their house which often makes their houses look worse. If you want to keep their nicely designed original look, only give them wall hanging items. For some reason they never use wall hanging items. The iron wall rack, potted ivy, and coconut wall planter are three that are easy to find the supplies to craft.

Earn lots of bells by playing the stalk market

One of the fastest ways to earn bells is by playing the stalk market. Buy turnips from Daisy Mae on Sunday morning then check the price of turnips at the Nook shop both mornings and evenings throughout the week. Hopefully you will be able to sell at a profit. There are guides to help you figure out when the best turnip price will happen based on the pricing trend that you are seeing day to day.

Use a checklist to know what creatures you still have to collect

Use a checklist such as the one that I created to keep track of which bugs, fish, and sea creatures you still need to collect. Check off all the ones that you have caught and see what is left. ACNH creature check list

Make sure there's a place to stand next to every item you place

If you surround something on your island with other items you will never get a 5-star island rating. Isabelle will say something cryptic about not being able to navigate the island well enough when you ask about your island rating. Some people tear their hair out trying to figure out the problem after putting in a block of shrubs or creating an area of placed tools when they didn't leave room to walk up to every placed item.

Grow more pumpkins by watering them

when you plant or pick pumpkins it takes them 2 days to grow. if you water them each day the plant will produce 3 pumpkins. if you water them just once the plant will produce two pumpkins. if you don't water them at all each plant will only produce one pumpkin.

Make friends with sable in the dress shop

if you tried to talk to sable in the dress shop as she's sewing she initially will say she's too busy to talk. but if you try again everyday, she will eventually warm up to you. eventually you will learn their family history and she will give you patterns that you can use in custom designs.

Find a new crafting villager every three hours

When you find a villager crafting in their house you can get a recipe from them. They will then continue crafting for another three hours then another villager will start crafting. There is almost always some villager crafting so it is an easy way to collect recipes.

Order a KK song from the nook catalog everyday

A random KK song is available in the nook catalog each day. when you were starting to collect KK song this is a great way to get a large number of them quickly but it gets more frustrating as you get more and you have to check if the one available is one you already have.

Get new KK songs by attending KK concerts

When KK is on your island he will give you a copy of the music of the first concert that you go to that day. If you let KK choose what to play, he will always play a song you don't have and give you a new album.

Flowers don't grow on the beach

you can plant for flowers on the beach but they won't grow there. if you transplant a fully grown flower to the beach and it gets picked or trampled it won't regrow. you can plant flowers on the beach for temporary storage, but it's not a good long-term place for them.

Follow Isabelle's advice to improve your island's rating

Talk to Isabelle in residence services about your island's rating. she will give you good advice. she may tell you to plant more flowers, place more furniture, or chopped down trees. Doing exactly what she says is a sure way to get to a five-star island.

Prevent your trees from dropping sticks overnight

Hardwood and cedar trees have an annoying habit of dropping sticks that hurt your island rating unless you go around cleaning them up. There is a way to prevent sticks from dropping. Sticks will only drop in 14 spots near the tree: Two spots to the left of the trunk and two spots to the right; and two rows of five spots each in front of the tree. You could plant flowers in every one of those spots to prevent sticks from dropping, but that would make the tree less usable for chopping wood. Sticks also won't drop overnight into spots that are behind other objects. Presumably this is because it would be super frustrating if your trees dropped sticks in places you couldn't see the stick. You can put a row of furniture or fencing in front of the tree and it won't drop sticks.

Craft the document stack and scattered papers to get miles for DIY Furniture

To get earn the all the miles for crafting DIY furniture you have to craft 3,000 items (any crafting counts, not just furniture). That isn't going to happen unless you craft items just to earn the miles. An easy way is to craft the document stack out some scattered papers, use that document stack to craft scattered papers, and repeat the process. These are the only two recipes in the game that you can craft back and forth like this. It doesn't require collecting lots of raw materials to do the crafting and it doesn't require going to the store to sell crafted items. It does require that you learn both recipes and find either the scattered papers or document stack for sale in your store.

Travel to a friend's island to sell turnips if they have a high turnip price

You can sell your turnips on other islands. If you have a friend whose store is buying turnips for a high price, head over to their island and sell your turnips.

Running and trampling flowers isn't too bad

running over your flowers well sometimes make the pedals fall off. The sets them back one day of growth. by the next day they will be flowers again. putting them back into the bud stage doesn't prevent them from reproducing. however you pick flowers it takes them 2 days to recover and will prevent them from reproducing on that first day.

Sell clothing and furniture that you can reorder from the nook catalog

if you try to keep every item you get in the game, you won't have enough room in your storage. Most items can be re-ordered from the nook catalog. It is better to order them from the catalog when you need them rather than trying to keep extras of them in storage.

If you play at 5:00 AM there will be only one villager up at home crafting

To easily find a crafting villager, play between 5 and 6 in the morning. Walk by your villagers houses until you find the only one with a light on inside. Go inside and that villager will be crafting. At other times of the day you might have to go into multiple houses before you find a crafting villager. The only exception is on special event days like holidays and bug-offs when there may not be any villagers awake at that time of day at all.

Find random islands with high turnip prices on the internet

If you have turnips to sell you can easily find islands to visit where you can sell them for a high price. Browse to Turnip Exchange's island list and change the filter from "Patreon only" to "All islands". Some islands charge a fee and some don't. Many of them have long lines. Pick an island to visit and put yourself in the queue. When your turn comes, you will get the dodo code and you use it to fly to the island and sell your turnips.

Bury items to prevent them from hurting your island rating

Recipes and rotten turnips can't can't be put into storage in your house. Dropping them around your house or island will hurt your rating. The one place you can store them without hurting your island is buried in a hole.

Drop rotten turnips during the bug off to get lots of ants

During a bug off event, you get points for collecting as many bugs as possible in thee minutes. An easy way to get more bugs is to set out one clump of rotten turnips which will get ants about every 15 seconds. You can catch significantly more bugs by catching an ant, catching some other bug, then coming back to catch another ant. Unfortunately, putting out additional clumps of rotten turnips does not attract more ants than just putting out one clump.

Once you have a flower in a certain color, clone it

It can be painful to breed some colors of flower, but once you have one of that flower it is easy to clone it to get more of the same. Simply put it where it has a space next to it to reproduce and away from other flowers of the same species. When you water it and it decides to reproduce, it will do so by cloning itself rather than by making a new color. The only flowers that can't be cloned are gold roses and lily of the valley which don't reproduce at all.

Clear off nook Islands to catch rare bugs

Catching rare bugs is mostly about preventing other types of bugs from spawning. For example, if you want to catch a Horned Hercules that's only on coconut trees at night, visit a nook mile island at night. break all the rocks, chop down all the trees except for the four coconut trees, pick all the flowers, remove all the stumps, and move the coconut trees so that they are in two groups near the back of the island. You can run back and forth between the coconut trees and there will almost always be bugs on their trunks. Occasionally, you will see the bug you want. If there's no bugs on the trunks og the coconut trees, run around the rest of the island and scare away things like hermit crabs and beetles. You may also have to catch water bugs. At any given time there are about five bugs on a nook mile island. You can greatly increase the odds of getting the one you want by only providing places for your type of bug to spawn and scaring away bugs find another places away.

If you land on a tarantula island, fill your inventory

A nook mile ticket might happen to land you on an island with several tarantulas in the center. The spiders will keep regenerating as you catch them. When this happens, you should fill your entire inventory with tarantulas before coming home. Doing so will not you about 300,000 bells.

Breeding all the possible colors of flowers is more complicated than you can imagine, use a guide

Planting the same species of flower next to each other will cause them to breed and create new colors. It is pretty easy to get hybrid colors such as pink by randomly planting flowers. However advanced colors such as purple windflowers, green mums, and blue roses require careful planning through multiple generations of other colors. Flowers use genetic inheritance with four genes to determine their color. Not all flowers of the same color have the exact same genes. Sometimes you have to rely on the ancestry of flowers rather than just their color when breeding. Breeding blue roses takes about two months of tending about seven generations to produce a single blue rose.

Become best friends to be able to trade trees shrubs and flowers

Designated best friends can use shovels on each other's islands. this allows you to get flowers from best friends that you can't get from anybody else. just make sure not to become best friends with somebody that would wreck your island.

Lily of the valley is a good beach flower

Unlike the other flowers, Lily of the valley cannot be picked or trampled. This makes did ideal to transplant to beaches because it will remain nice looking there. Other types of flowers will go back to the bud stage when picked or trampled and won't regrow on the beach.

Get the three hidden KK songs

There are three KK songs that are not sold in the catagol and KK won't play for you unless you request them by name. When KK comes for a concert you can type in the name of a song to request. To hear the hidden songs and get a copy of the album after the concert type in "Drivin'", "Animal City", or "Farewell".

Invite strangers to visit your island

If you have things to give away, a good turnip price, items to sell, or things on your island for other to do, invite strangers. Use Turnip Exchange to advertise what you have. You give them your dodo code and they give it out to people waiting in line to come to your island a few at a time. You could charge an entrance fee or just let others come for free.

Time travel is not cheating

Many players resist time traveling because it feels like cheating. It's not. You can set the date on your switch so that the game moves to a different day or month. The game designers expect players to do this and do not penalize it in any way. Previous versions of the game even had in-game mechanics to set the time by talking to Isabelle and telling her her clock was wrong.

Use the home button to resume the game quickly after changing the clock for time traveling

To time travel quickly: Hit the home button then right-right-down-right on joystick before pressing A. Scroll to the bottom of the setting to "System", select it with A then down four more times to "Date and Time." Chang the time and select "OK" . Then hit the home button twice to get back to Animal Crossing.

When time traveling, you can change the clock before saving the game.

The Animal Crossing software only reads the current time from the switch on startup. If you change the time on you switch without saving and ending, the game won't pick up the new date and time. That means you can change the date and time before saving, ending, and resuming the game.

Time travel to 4:58 AM to restart the current day

Often you may want to redo the current day to get the same vendor. An easy way to do it is to travel back to 4:58 AM on the same day. You have two minutes in the before the day starts over at 5:00 AM. This avoids having to time travel twice, once backwards and then again forwards to redo the current day.

Use time travel to complete your art collection

To donate every piece of artwork to your museum, you need to visit Redd's boat to buy artwork many times. Redd comes randomly about once every two weeks. Once you buy a piece of art from him, you won't be able to buy another until he comes around again. Unless you time travel. You can time travel forward or backwards one day from seeing red and then back again. Redd will be still be there and be happy to sell you different art.

Use time travel to get all the fish and bug models

You can collect fish and bug models from Flick and CJ when they visit. You need to collect three of a creature and hand them over to get a model in the mail the next day. If you want to collect all the models, you'll need to time travel. You can only get one model each time Flick or CJ visits and each of them only comes every couple weeks. If you want to collect all the models, you will pretty much need to time travel.

Time travel to a Sunday morning to buy turnips if your friend has a high turnip price

If you have a friend that has a high turnip price you can sell your turnips on their island. To make a killing in the stalk market, you can time travel to Sunday morning, buy turnips on your island, and then sell them on your friend's island. It is also possible for your friend to visit your island to buy turnips to sell on their own island.

Be careful when time traveling to the next day after midnight

If it is 1 AM and you want to time travel to the next day, you only need to move ahead 4 hours to 5 AM when the new day starts in animal crossing. In other words, you just change the time and not the date. If you change the time to 5 AM and change the date to the next day, you will effectively time travel forward 2 days, skipping one day

Time travel back and forth between two days with two vendors you want

You might get really lucky and find back to back days with two vendors that you would like to visit multiple times each. If you find one vendor you want to visit multiple times, travel one day at a time both forward and backwards from that day to check if there is another vendor you want on either side.

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