Crow's co-writer, Jeff Trott, came up with the idea for this on a flight from Portland, Oregon, to New York. He told Songfacts
: "I'm thinking this is really ironic that I'm leaving Portland being soaked in rain, and I'm actually going to New York to soak up some sun. I'm going to New York to soak up some sun. That's got a ring to it. That's kind of cool.
Then I started thinking about the sun, and I started thinking of these Beach Boys-style harmonies. On that five-hour flight, I had come up with the whole song completely in my head, not all the lyrics necessarily. I had a good chunk of the chorus of 'Soak Up The Sun,' but I had harmonies and everything all in my head, and I'm just having to scratch it down on a piece of paper."