PURPOSE Smoking restrictions in recreational settings are established to promote anti-smoking norms and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. Outdoor smoke-free policies are increasing, yet little is known about the perceptions of such restrictions. METHODS Data were collected from a population-based sample of young adults (n=2289) in upper Midwestern United States. Cross-sectional multivariate logistic regression was used to assess predictors of the perceived difficulty to smoke in outdoor park areas. RESULTS Living in an area with a smoke-free park policy was associated with a 1.4 times higher odds of perceiving difficulty to smoke compared to those living in an area without such a policy, after controlling for past month smoking, physical activity, age, and gender. Both smokers and non-smokers living in an area with a smoke-free park policy had higher odds of perceiving difficulty to smoking in park areas (OR=1.6 and 1.3 respectively) compared to smokers and non-smokers living in areas without such policies. CONCLUSION Banning smoking in park areas was associated with a heightened perception of difficulty in smoking for young adult smokers and non-smokers.