Rock-Hiding Social Groups Are About Art, Fun And Friendship

If you’ve been out and about in the Royal Palm Beach and greater Loxahatchee area, or really, just about anywhere lately, you might have noticed a brightly painted rock here and there.

Many communities are participating in this scavenger hunt-style rock painting, hiding and hunting game, where participants either keep the rocks they’ve found or hide them for others to find. They also paint and hide their own rocks.

The goal? To bring joy and happiness to those who find these tiny treasures. Additionally, painting the small, manageable-sized rocks adds a relaxing crafts project for the painter.

Melody Owens began the Lox Rocks group on Facebook for the Loxahatchee, Acreage and Royal Palm Beach area after a friend in Stuart, who participates in the Martin County Rocks group, which has 19,727 members, mentioned the idea.

The suggested guidelines are simple — if you find a rock, post a picture, and then either keep the rock, rehide it or replace it with one of your own. The goal is to inspire creativity while having a good time.

Participants should not trespass on property, or take decorative rocks; rocks should be purchased. Rocks should not be hidden where they can be damaging to property like weed whackers or lawn mowers, or in potentially dangerous locations.

Owens started the group page on Jan. 28 and has already accumulated 1,230 members, including artist Carolyn Hmara and her husband, Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara.

“It’s a great community activity, getting people out,” Jeff Hmara said.

So far, he noted, Carolyn has been doing the painting, but they both are enjoying hiding rocks.

“We were out there and ran across a couple of people waiting to see us put the rocks down to come and snag them,” he said. “I think it’s a great community activity; a lot of people seem to be getting into it.”

There is a Royal Palm Beach-specific group, RPB “Royal Rocks,” which has 128 members. Palm Beach County also has its own group, PBC Rocks, with 3,633 members.

“It’s a great community thing. It really does get people out doing things that are a lot of fun, sharing creative activities,” Jeff Hmara said. “Carolyn and I like to paint. The idea of doing something that you can share with the community is a really cool thing.”

The rock painting is a grassroots, artistic initiative that invites people into the community and parks, and which people are excited about taking part in, he said.

The Hmaras learned about Lox Rocks from a friend and have been hooked ever since. “It’s art in the community,” he said.

As a community activity, Owens has been hosting painting parties to benefit Loxahatchee Animal Rescue Community Inc., also known as LARC, an animal rescue that includes the Pawsitive Direction program. It combines shelter dogs with men in custody in the Okeechobee Correctional Institution work camp. The men work to train the dogs, which are then up for adoption after the 12-week training program.

“We take in a lot of medically needy dogs,” she said.

The next paint party will be Sunday, April 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Tree’s Wings & Ribs (603 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., Royal Palm Beach). Anyone is welcome to come and paint rocks; a $10 donation at the door is requested, and rocks and supplies will be provided.

For artist Carolyn Hmara, the rocks are a fun, creative outlet.

“It’s just people having fun, and it’s not just adults. Parents are having birthday parties for kids and they’re painting rocks,” she said. “Any child, from three years up, is doing the painting.”

The first step is to purchase rocks, which can be found at any home supply store. Next, they need to be washed to remove any powdery residue before painting. The rocks get painted and then sealed, so if it rains, the paint won’t wash away. Some stores are letting people paint and hide rocks in them.

People are writing their names, hashtags, Facebook group names and dates on the backs of their rocks so those who find them can post on Facebook that they found the rock with a photo and a link to the painter.

“It really has brought the community together,” Carolyn Hmara said.

She has been painting Disney and Warner Brothers characters on her rocks, which she seals with Krylon matte and satin sprays.

“There’s so much art in Royal Palm Beach and Wellington and Loxahatchee. It’s phenomenal,” she said. “I’m amazed with how much it has taken off.”

Through Lox Rocks, artists in the community are learning about one another. For example, Carolyn Hmara would never have learned about fellow artist Sydney Neff.

Neff, a commissioned artist by trade, found a rock outside of Butterfield’s Southern Café in Royal Palm Beach, and ever since then, decided painting rocks would be a great side activity.

She has painted owls, deer, wolves, turtles, ladybugs, trolls, horses, turtles, Minions, phrases and more.

“I like them all in their own way. They’re all kind of different and fun to do. I do it because I like the subject matter, and it talks to me,” Neff said.

Neff, who has been drawing for people since she was a child, often makes horse portraits. She enjoys the challenges of painting intricate details on something so small and oddly shaped.

“It’s a change of pace to get a different demographic to get my work and enjoy it not because they bought it but because it’s something that they found. It’s cherishable because they found it, and it’s theirs because it’s their lucky day,” she said.

For those after one of Neff’s rocks, she typically hides them on Fridays at Veterans Park.

To learn more about Lox Rocks, visit and search “Lox Rocks.” The LARC fundraiser information is listed under “Events.”

ABOVE: Karen Estevez and Bella Nieves with rocks painted by Sydney Neff (center).