A note on tax vs. audit, especially since we're in the same state.
I work in the Tax Department of a medium sized firm. And yes, it's true, Feb-Apr sucks. For reference, I billed 250 hours last march. That equals 8.3 hours a day for every single day in March. Lot of work. With that said, I am very glad that I don't have to spend weeks on Indian reservations (tribal/casino stuff) or in small towns, etc.
There is a lot of travel involved with audit, at least for the audit department in my firm and in others. If you were in a bigger city you might not travel as much because there are a lot of companies in the city. For instance, in Denver I had a buddy at a Big 4 accounting firm in audit... But he didn't travel at all because his clients were in Denver. Now that he's moved to ABQ, he travels all the time. Weeks on end in Gallup, random Indian reservations, etc. With a situation like that, I'm very glad I get to go home to my bed every night. And since you said you had a family, you might not want to be on the road all the time either.
The plugging numbers thing is true with tax, at least in the beginning. But I mean, none of my seniors do that crap. Once you move up there is more client interaction, more active tax planning, etc. Yeah, right now I just listen to the radio all day and plug numbers, but the next-level type stuff can be pretty interesting, I think.
I don't think you can go wrong either way, to be honest. A couple people in the tax department with me now moved over from audit. When you're in the interview process, make sure to ask about travel for auditors, but also be sure to ask what their policy is on changing departments, etc. You might find you hate one, and hopefully the firm can accommodate a change.
Also: have fun with the CPA exam. I've passed 2 parts, I actually take another part tomorrow and I'm procrastinating a bit on the 'Mane. It sucks but if you can do it it'll mean the world to you and your career.