Animal Crossing: New Horizons Deserted Island Guide -- Rare Island Types, Tips, And More
Grab a Nook Miles ticket and hit up some deserted islands--scorpions, bamboo, and other rare resources await in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you could travel to a tropical island and find a variety of different fish, bugs, and fruit. This island was always the same, permanently in summer year-round. The Mystery Tour in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an extension of this feature, with a variety of deserted islands to visit (but within your own hemisphere and season).
Mystery Tour islands are much smaller than your main island, but they're great for meeting new villagers, gathering extra resources, and even making tons of money if you're lucky. We've rounded up our best tips for deserted-island hopping as well as all the types of Mystery Tour islands we've found so far.
- How To Travel To A Deserted Island
- Can You Control What Type Of Island You Get?
- What To Do On A Deserted Island
- Deserted Island Types
For more Animal Crossing guides, be sure to check out our guide hub, which links out to our various features explaining and answering some of the game's biggest subjects. Otherwise, read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review.
How To Travel To A Deserted Island
Once your airport is open (starting the second day you play the game), you'll be able to use a Nook Miles Ticket to go to a deserted island. You can purchase Nook Miles Tickets for 2,000 Nook Miles each at the Nook Stop machine in Resident Services.
Once you have a ticket, talk to Orville at the airport, select the "I wanna fly!" option, and then select "Use Nook Miles Ticket." You'll then be whisked away to a random island on your Mystery Tour!
These islands come in a variety of styles ranging from pretty basic to rare and lucrative; we've detailed all the types we've encountered so far below. Keep in mind that an island is generated each time you buy a Nook Miles Ticket, which means you can’t keep resetting the game to try and get a different island with the same ticket.
Can You Control What Type Of Island You Get?
You may have heard that you can use Reactions or other methods at the airport to increase your chances of getting a rare or desirable Mystery Tour island. We tested this, and sadly, it simply isn't true. You have to rely on a little luck or a lot of Nook Miles if you're determined to get an especially good island.
What To Do On A Deserted Island
Depending on the type of island you get, there are a few different approaches you can take to make the most of your Mystery Tour. No matter what, we recommend emptying your pockets of everything except for your tools, as there is no way to send or otherwise keep any resources beyond your pocket capacity once you've left the deserted island.
Stock Up On Resources
Deserted islands are great for gathering resources. Each island can be completely emptied of resources with no repercussions; you'll never return to an island you've already visited.
Like on your own island, on Mystery Tour islands, you can gather weeds, tree branches, wood, fruit, clay, stone, and iron, as well as catch bugs and fish. You may also find a fossil buried in the ground or a DIY recipe in a bottle on the beach. You can even eat fruit on the island to gain super strength and dig up trees to take home--including coconut trees you can plant on your own beach.
Mystery Tours are a great way to get all the resources you need to build Nook's Cranny--which requires 30 iron and 30 of all three types of wood--in a short amount of time. Mining for these resources on a deserted island is a great option once you've depleted your own island's resources for the day.
If your tools wear out, you can either craft some more with the resources on the deserted island or buy flimsy tools for 100 Nook Miles each from Wilbur, the Dodo Airlines pilot. The tools purchased can still be upgraded with an iron nugget to the higher-tier tool.
Meet New Villagers
A great way to control who moves into your island home is by inviting specific villagers yourself. You can find potential new island villagers on deserted islands who will gladly move into your town if asked, and if you don't ask, you can simply use more Nook Miles Tickets to travel to islands until you find one you like.
Villagers will only spawn on deserted islands if you have room for them to move onto your main island and a plot picked out for a new house. If you have 10 villagers living on your island or no open plots, you won't find anyone on these islands.
Seek Out Better Weather
While it's not guaranteed, the weather on any given Mystery Tour island can be different from that of your own island. This can be useful for finding different fish or bugs that spawn in different weather--say, if it's raining on your island and you want to catch rain-shy bugs.
Some Mystery Tour islands are rife with money-making opportunities, so you should be on the lookout for some of the more lucrative types of islands. Below, we've outlined the kinds of islands we've found so far and what different opportunities you can find on each.
Deserted Island Types
There are different kinds of Mystery Tour islands you can encounter, with some being rarer than others. No matter which island you get, we recommend at least hitting all the rocks--as iron and gold nuggets are a relatively scarce resource--and scanning the shore for DIY recipes before you leave.
Sometimes, you'll just get a pretty normal island. These islands will have your native fruit, your native flower, a normal assortment of trees, and a basic river with no apparent difference in the type or frequency of bug and fish spawns. There will be a few rocks, all of which contain resources (no money rocks, in other words), and one tree will have furniture in it. Many of these islands will also have one fossil, while the rarer islands usually don't.
A kind of standard island, there's a layout in which the river runs in a spiral with a rock at the center of the island. We haven't noticed a big difference in what you can get on these islands, but maybe they'll inspire some of your island designs down the road.
Also apparently a subset of the standard island, we've found islands that are primarily cliffs, with most of the river up on the cliffs as well. While everything else about the island is pretty normal, you'll have an easier time grinding for clifftop fish with this layout.
We've also encountered an island that just has a bunch of rocks at the center atop a cliff. All the rocks contain crafting materials, so again, no money rocks.
Foreign Fruit Island
This one is slightly rarer. It is otherwise a normal island, except all the trees are fruit trees--and it's a different fruit than the one native to your island! You can pick the fruit and take it home to sell or plant (we recommend planting it first). The type of foreign fruit you can find depends on what your native fruit is and could be considered your island's "sister" fruit--for example, if your native fruit is apples, your sister fruit is oranges, and you'll only find oranges on these islands.
There are five possible fruits--apples, oranges, peaches, cherries, and pears--and the four fruits that aren't native to your island sell for 500 bells each. Bringing back and planting these foreign fruit trees can be a great way to make some real cash. If you want to dig up the whole tree and bring it back with you, we recommend eating coconuts to gain the strength to do so; coconuts are less valuable than foreign fruits.
Somewhat common, the bamboo island only has bamboo on it--no rivers or ponds, though it does have rocks, coconut trees, and sometimes fossils. You can dig up bamboo shoots and plant them on your island, or you can eat some coconuts and dig up the bamboo trees whole.
Bamboo is an important resource in crafting, so it's also a good idea to take a flimsy or stone axe to the bamboo trees and harvest as much bamboo as you can while you're there. The lack of freshwater here might be inconvenient if you were planning on fishing, but it's actually the ideal island for creating your own tarantula farm right now.
Hybrid Flower Island
Even more rare is an island covered in hybrid flowers--pink, black, orange, purple, or blue flowers whose seeds you can't buy from Timmy and Tommy. They'll usually be accompanied by butterflies, many of which only spawn around these rare hybrid flowers. In addition to catching these butterflies, which should fetch a good price, you should dig up and take home a few of each color so you can keep catching rare butterflies at home. These Mystery island hybrid flowers can be used to breed even rarer hybrid flowers, so be sure to keep track of any flowers you take from a Mystery Tour.
You can only find two different species of flowers on Mystery Tour islands: your native flower (the kind that you'd find on your cliffs at the beginning of the game) and your "sister" flower, which is generated when you start the game. That means you can only find hybrid flower islands of these two flower species as well. For more details about native and sister flowers as well as hybrids, check out our full guide to hybrid flowers and flower breeding.
Money Rock Island
If you ever find an island where there's a group of rocks in the center, surrounded by a river, then you have hit the jackpot. Those rocks are all money rocks, just like the one rock that spawns every day on the main island.
To reach the middle, you'll need to smash the one rock blocking the path; you can do this by eating a piece of fruit and hitting the rock with a shovel. Once you've smashed the rock you can use your vaulting pole to reach the middle. Make sure to dig some holes directly behind you before you start hitting each rock--this will ensure you can hit them in quick succession and get the whole 16,100 bells from each rock.
An island to fuel your nightmares, the tarantula island is inhabited by a seemingly infinite number of tarantulas. They sell for 8,000 bells each, so catch as many as you can carry. This is absolutely one of the jackpot islands, even if it's a little creepy. If you don't land on this one by sheer chance, there are actually ways to create your own tarantula island, though a new critter introduced in April has broken tarantula farming spawn rates for Northern Hemisphere players.
Similar to the tarantula island, the scorpion island is covered in, well, scorpions. They also sell for 8,000 bells each (or 12,000 to Flick), so you should catch as many as you can carry if you're lucky enough to get this rare island. Note that scorpion season lasts half the year, either May to October (Northern Hemisphere) or November to April (Southern Hemisphere); the other half of the year is tarantula season. Because of that, you always have a chance of getting one of these jackpot bug islands year-round.
This island appears normal and consists of regular trees and flowers like every other island; the catch is that the river, lake, and ocean are full of trash. Fishing on this island will only yield trash items (cans, tires, and boots). The upside is that, by catching a bunch of trash, you'll at least unlock some DIY recipes.