The distance between Petra and the Dead Sea is roughly 123 miles (198 km). Using Wadi Musa as the starting point and Amman Beach as the general destination makes for a three-hour drive, and a private transfer is recommended.
No public transport runs directly between the two locations—you would have to make the trip to Amman first and transfer there. It is possible to go by public minibus, but Jordan's national company, JETT, operates a direct route. These tourist buses run daily, with several different times to choose from, and offer a nicer ride. Once you're in Amman, a taxi or minibus can take you the additional hour to Amman Beach or beyond.
Short on time? Consider this 3-day itinerary that covers Petra and the Dead Sea.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 3-4 hours
Since you're traveling between two of Jordan's most popular destinations, it's ideal to have the freedom and convenience of a car and driver. Taking Kings Highway north to Route 65 is the fastest and easiest way to go, but the Desert Highway route is also a feasible way of getting there if you don't mind the extra hour of travel.
The major freeways are modern and well-maintained, and since you won't have the restrictions that come with public transport, you'll have your pick of many resorts or swimming areas along the coast (along with the local insight of your driver). Amman Beach is a popular destination because it's open to the public, but there are many private and lesser-known spots to check out.
Duration: 3-4 hours
A taxi ride will cost more than a bus ticket, but you won't be beholden to any fixed locations. Also, you won't have to worry about leaving a car during your visit to the beach. Finding a taxi outside of Petra will not be a problem, but your hotel can also help you book one ahead of time. If you're on a budget, sharing a taxi with fellow travelers is a good way to pay a lower rate. Utilizing a ride-sharing app like Uber might be a possibility as well.
Duration: 4-6 hours
A bus ride equals longer travel time, but JETT buses are air-conditioned, spacious, and often come with on-board snacks and wifi. They depart a short distance from the Wadi Musa Visitor Center and arrive at the Abdali station downtown. Visit the JETT website to order tickets, verify schedules, and get additional trip information. Once you get to Amman, you'll have your pick of taxi or minibus to continue your journey onward. If you're heading to a hotel resort, it may be worth calling their Amman location to see if a shuttle service is offered.