Stanford is about 30 miles (~50 minutes) south of San Francisco and 20 miles (~35 minutes) north of San Jose, and is about the same driving distance from either airport. Here are some useful links:
WARNING: Some on-line maps (notably Yahoo! and Google) suggest it is possible to drive through central campus on Serra Street. Serra Street is CLOSED TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC between Galvez Street and Via Ortega. To get from one end of campus to another, you must circle around on Campus Drive.
Most parking lots have labeled slots (e.g., A, C), as well as a few public parking slots. Parking is regulated between the hours of 8am-4pm. Until 4pm, visitors may only park in the public parking slots. Beyond 4pm, you may park not only in the public parking slots for free, but also the labeled slots.
Parking costs $1.50 per hour until 4pm (each quarter gets you ten minutes). For all public parking slots, you can either use quarters, or a printed parking permit.
Assuming you don't have enough quarters, the best option is to buy a printed parking permit near Cantor Art Center (near Rodin Sculpture Garden) or in Parking Structure 1 (S-1 on some maps), then look for parking in one of the following lots (listed in the order of distance from Gates - close to far):
If you bring enough coins, then you can head directly to these lots.
The Stanford Parking and Transportation Services webpage has detailed information on where you can park.
Last update: Dec 13 2012