The area surrounding Stony Brook University is basically a small town. The Three Village area is upper-middleclass and quite safe. The campus is fairly removed, so a car is desirable. More than half of the student body commutes, so they already have cars. However, public busing is readily available. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Station is located on the northern tip of campus, and a bus that will takes you there directly from the Student Activity Center Loop. The train goes into Penn Station in New York City. On the downside, the ride there takes around two hours because of a transfer.
Malls, bars, supermarkets, and other amenities are all within 10 minutes from campus by car, but it can be a far walk. On the weekends, there is a bus that will take students to and from local shopping centers. However, the schedule is not always reliable. Luckily, there are many taxis in the area that offer relatively speedy service for a low price, which comes in handy for getting to and from clubs, bars, and Thursday night frat parties. The area around Stony Brook is definitely not a college town, though. Most of the surrounding area has retained its old world charm, though there are also plenty of new developments and shopping centers for students to patronize.