Forest has a high school, North Lambton Secondary School. This facility includes a large gymnasium, and cafeteria as well as meal preparation facilities. There are elementary schools in the public (Kinnwood Central Public School) and separate (St. John Fisher) school systems.
Recreational facilities include an enclosed arena for hockey or ringette, a community centre for dances held by the town with baseball and soccer fields, a lawn bowling club, public tennis courts and an agricultural society with grounds used for a fall fair and occasional campsites. There are a dozen golf courses within a 20-mile drive.
Forest Amphitheatre is a natural amphitheatre located at the conservation area (Esli Dodge Conservation Area) in the south part of the town. The stage is situated on a small island, and spectators sit on the surrounding hillsides on lawn chairs or blankets. Hundreds attend outdoor performances there each summer. An annual performance of a religious play (The Promise), acted in by members of the town, was held annually from 1995 to 2005. In 2006 a play entitled Their Finest Hour was performed, and since 2007 country music concerts entitled "Music In the Valley" have been held there.
The Forest Museum is located in the old Forest Home Bakery building at 8 King St. N. Permanent displays include First Nations artifacts, the military, the Forest Excelsior Band, local doctors, fashion, toys, telephones, local businesses, schools and churches. The museum was founded in 1963.
Forest is situated on what was once dense forest. When the Grand Trunk Railway was built through where the town now sits, the station was named for the dense forest. Hickory Creek, which meanders through the town, provided water for the station in those days when wood and water were essential to the operation of steam locomotives.
The first post office, in 1859, was then named Forest. The site was very near the junction of three township boundaries, with parts of Warwick, Plympton and Bosanquet townships all annexed into the town. None of these townships remain as political units due to amalgamation, with Bosanquet joining Forest in forming Lambton Shores (along with the villages of Arkona, Thedford, and Grand Bend).
The industry of the town was initially tied to the abundant fruit growing operation. There were once a canning factory and a basket factory in Forest. In more recent years the town has become a dormitory community for the city of Sarnia (and to a lesser extent London, Ontario). The extensive tourism area along the shores of nearby Lake Huron also supports several businesses. Several small factories supporting the auto industry have also opened in the past few years.[when?]
- Brothers Dan and Thom Speck of the a cappella group The Essentials grew up in Forest.
- Emily Murphy, one of the "Famous Five" who fought the "Persons Case" in the 1920s, once lived in Forest where her husband was an Anglican minister.
- The Ipperwash Inquiry held hearings at Forest's community centre from 2004 to 2006 regarding the death of Dudley George during a protest by First Nations representatives at Ipperwash Provincial Park known as the Ipperwash Crisis.
- Ice hockey player John McIntyre grew up in Forest. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks from 1990 to 1995.
- Singer-songwriter Emm Gryner grew up in Forest.
- Dublin (Ireland) -based author Roslyn Fuller grew up in Forest before moving to Europe at the age of 19.
- Robyn Doolittle, journalist with the Toronto Star, grew up in Forest. Her news stories concerning Mayor Rob Ford, including one where she described watching a video of the mayor apparently using a crack pipe, brought her international attention, particularly after the mayor's ultimate admission that he had smoked crack in a drunken stupor.
- Sledge hockey player and 2014 Paralympic medalist Tyler McGregor grew up in Forest and attended North Lambton Secondary School.
- "From Forest to Dublin via Germany with Roslyn Fuller". Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Trinity College Dublin". Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Seven Towers Agency - Friends and Colleagues". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-08-16.