Join Date: May 2011
Location: Green Bay
Bikes: 2012 Kona Jake, 2009 Trek 1.2, 1997 Trek 6700
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Naturally a Mountain Bike seems like a good suggestion. Plenty of gears for any hills you may encounter on the commute, defintely a good choice to knock around on with the kids.
Fat tires won't do you any favors while commuting, and can make you slow, but you could replace them with thinner tires.
Or you could consider a hybrid, though I personally loathe hybrids with a white hot intensity.
The issue could be your budget ... $600 won't get you much, unless you happen to get really lucky with a 2012 model, or as fall starts to arrive, a 2013 model.